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The special science dilemma and how culture solves it

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I argue that there is a tension between the claim that kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the view that the natural kinds are prized by science since they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension at least ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’ – such as specific ideologies, religions and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds have several projectable properties in common due to their shared history of reproduction, and that due to the social learning involved we also have good reason to expect these kinds to be multiply realized.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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