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Causal CognitionA Multidisciplinary Debate$
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Dan Sperber, David Premack, and Ann James Premack

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.001.0001

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The looping effects of human kinds

The looping effects of human kinds

Chapter:
(p.351) 12 The looping effects of human kinds
Source:
Causal Cognition
Author(s):

Ian Hacking

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524021.003.0012

This chapter argues that today's understanding of causal processes in human affairs relies crucially on concepts of ‘human kinds’ which are a product of the modern social sciences, with their concern for classification, quantification, and intervention. Child abuse, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, and multiple personality are examples of such recently established human kinds. What distinguishes human kinds from ‘natural kinds’, is that they have specific ‘looping effects’. By coming into existence through social scientists' classifications, human kinds change the people thus classified.

Keywords:   causal processes, human kinds, child abuse, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, multiple personality

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