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The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It

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Godman, M 


I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension 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 do have several projectable properties in common due to their shared history of reproduction, and that the social learning involved means we should also expect these kinds to be multiply realized.


This is the final version of the article. It first appeared from Taylor & Francis via


Multiple realization, Special Sciences, Natural kinds, Multiple projectability, Homology thinking, Cultural Evolution

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Australasian Journal of Philosophy

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Informa UK Limited