Title

Pluto and the Platypus: An Odd Ball and an Odd Duck — On Classificatory Norms

Publication Date

2-2017

Journal

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A

Volume

61

First Page

1

Last Page

10

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

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.

DOI

10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.01.001

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