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The Construction of Human Kinds$
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Ron Mallon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755678.001.0001

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Alternatives and Implications

Alternatives and Implications

(p.207) 9 Alternatives and Implications
The Construction of Human Kinds

Ron Mallon

Oxford University Press

Mallon concludes by comparing his own entrenched social role account to others, and he considers its normative implications. Mallon begins by returning to both naturalist and skeptical approaches to human categories, and then goes on to compare his own explanation-driven approach to constructed categories with a justice-driven approach. He also contrasts his view with other constructionist views, including accounts based on overtly constructed institutions and those that further specify features of the social roles in question. Mallon closes by considering how his account relates to two normative concerns of social theory: nonessentialism and social change. Mallon allows that his account cannot guarantee freedom from pernicious generalizing, but he argues that because his account of categories is both a posteriori and nonessentialist, it does provide avenues for correction in the face of complexity and counterevidence. He closes by considering what covert constructionist research contributes to projects of social change.

Keywords:   natural kinds, skepticism, explanation-driven metaphysics, justice-driven metaphysics, institutions, conferralism, nonessentialism, collective action problem, reification problem

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