Indigenous and Scientific Kinds

Ludwig, David


The aim of this article is to discuss the relation between indigenous and scientific kinds on the basis of contemporary ethnobiological research. I argue that ethnobiological accounts of taxonomic convergence–divergence patters challenge common philosophical models of the relation between folk concepts and natural kinds. Furthermore, I outline a positive model of taxonomic convergence–divergence patterns that is based on Slater's ([2015]) notion of ‘stable property clusters’ and Franklin-Hall's ([2015]) discussion of natural kinds as ‘categorical bottlenecks’. Finally, I argue that this model is not only helpful for understanding the relation between indigenous and scientific kinds, but also makes substantial contributions to contemporary debates about natural kinds.