Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Natural Kinds, philosophy: deviating from the biological definition, substances such as gold, water, etc. are referred to as natural kinds in the recent philosophical discussion. This goes back to the way in which these terms were introduced. (See H. Putnam, “The Meaning of 'Meaning”'. In Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2. Mind, Language and Reality, Cambridge.) Starting from a primary showing, the natural kind is defined as "something like this". The decisive point here is that there is no limit to future research. Virtually, any property that is initially attributed can prove to be a false assumption. See also introduction, definitions, terms.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
Author Item Summary Meta data
Norvig I 443
Natural kinds/AI research/Norvig/Russell: Some categories have strict definitions: an object is a triangle if and only if it is a polygon with three sides. On the other hand, most categories in the real world have no clear-cut definition; these are called natural kind categories. For example, tomatoes tend to be a dull scarlet (…). There is, however, variation: some tomatoes are yellow or orange, unripe tomatoes are green (…).
Problem: This poses a problem for a logical agent. The agent cannot be sure that an object it has perceived is a tomato, and even if it were sure, it could not be certain which of the properties of typical tomatoes this one has. This problem is an inevitable consequence of operating in partially observable environments. One useful approach is to separate what is true of all instances of a category from what is true only of typical instances. So in addition to the category Tomatoes, we will also have the category Typical (Tomatoes). - ((s) >Stereotypes/Philosophical theories, >Natural kinds/Philosophical theories). >Ontology/AI research, >Categories/AI research, >Knowledge representation/AI research.
Norvig I 469
The problems associated with natural kinds and inexact category boundaries have been addressed by Wittgenstein (1953)(1), Quine (1953)(2), Lakoff (1987)(3), and Schwartz (1977)(4), among others.


1. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical Investigations. Macmillan
2. Quine, W. V. (1953). Two dogmas of empiricism. In From a Logical Point of View, pp. 20–46. Harper and Row.
3. Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. University of Chicago Press.
4. Schwartz, S. P. (Ed.). (1977). Naming, Necessity, and Natural Kinds. Cornell University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
AI Research
Norvig I
Peter Norvig
Stuart J. Russell
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach Upper Saddle River, NJ 2010


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-07-05
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