â��Human kindâ�� is a term introduced by Ian Hacking to refer to the kinds of peopleâ��child abusers, pregnant teenagers, the unemployedâ��studied by the human sciences. Hacking argues that classifying and describing human kinds results in feedback, which alters the very kinds under study. This feedback results in human kinds having histories totally unlike those of natural kinds (such as copper, tigers and dandelions) leading Hacking to conclude that human kinds are radically unlike natural kinds. Here I argue that Hackingâ��s argument fails and that he has not demonstrated that human kinds cannot be natural kinds.
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Cooper, Rachel Why Hacking is Wrong about Human Kinds British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2004 55: 73-85 is available online at: http://bjps.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/55/1/73