Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Atran: Folk biology

The living individual and its kind

Michael Thompson a1
a1 Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260


The empirical advances the target article makes over Atran (1990) tend not so much to enrich our knowledge of the “folk taxonomic” hierarchy as to militate against the idea of one. Folk-biological domain-specific universals are to be found not in “taxonomic” kind-kind subordination relations, but in the relation of individual organisms to low ranking kinds and in the peculiarities of those kinds.