Synthese

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 261–286 | Cite as

Confusion and dependence in uses of history

Article

Abstract

Many people argue that history makes a special difference to the subjects of biology and psychology, and that history does not make this special difference to other parts of the world. This paper will show that historical properties make no more or less of a difference to biology or psychology than to chemistry, physics, or other sciences. Although historical properties indeed make a certain kind of difference to biology and psychology, this paper will show that historical properties make the same kind of difference to geology, sociology, astronomy, and other sciences. Similarly, many people argue that nonhistorical properties make a special difference to the nonbiological and the nonpsychological world. This paper will show that nonhistorical properties make the same difference to all things in the world when it comes to their causal behavior and that historical properties make the same difference to all things in the world when it comes to their distributions. Although history is special, it is special in the same way to all parts of the world.

Keywords

Natural kind Essential properties Explanation Behavior Historical properties Generalizations Distributions Causal activity Historical kinds Copied kinds Real kinds Prediction 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Connecticut State UniversityWillimanticUSA

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