Human Kinds, Interactive Kinds, and Realism about Kinds

Alexander J Bird

Research output: Working paper

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An interactive human kind exists when the existence and nature of that kind of people depends on our classificatory practices—when there is an interaction between the kind and how we think and talk about people. Ian Hacking argues that people suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder form such a kind, since their existence as a kind depends on how doctors use that category and on pa- tients’ awareness of it. This looks like a special case of the social construction of a kind of person. Hacking call his view ‘nominalism’ indicating that the kinds are not real. Khalidi suggests that this verdict may spread to other apparently real or natural kinds. Thus interactive kinds look to be a threat to realism about kinds. I examine these arguments. Are interactive kinds real or not? Are any kinds real?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • human kinds, natural kinds


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