Pluto and the Platypus: An Odd Ball and an Odd Duck — On Classificatory Norms
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Many astronomers seem to believe that we have discovered that Pluto is not a planet. I contest this assessment. Recent discoveries of trans-Neptunian Pluto-sized objects do not militate for Pluto's expulsion from the planets unless we have prior reason for not simply counting these newly-discovered objects among the planets. I argue that this classificatory controversy — which I compare to the controversy about the classification of the platypus — illustrates how our classificatory practices are laden with normative commitments of a distinctive kind. I conclude with a discussion of the relevance of such “norm-ladenness” to other controversies in the metaphysics of classification, such as the monism/pluralism debate.
Slater, Matthew H.. "Pluto and the Platypus: An Odd Ball and an Odd Duck — On Classificatory Norms." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61, (2017) : 1-10.