Belgrade Legal Theory Group organized its first event of the autumn semester of 2023 with Prof. Adam Dyrda (Jagiellonian University in Krakow) on the topic of kinds in jurisprudence.

Prof. Dyrda opened with some conceptual remarks regarding two versions of metaphysical realism, as well as Plato’s and Aristotle’s views on the relationship between forms and kinds. He also mentioned Aristotle’s rejection of essentialism for artifacts and disagreements in philosophy on what constitutes a genuine substance.

Afterward, Prof. Dyrda moved on to Quine’s and Dupree’s approaches to kinds as folk concepts. He pointed out Quine’s notion of scientific categories as refined folk categories and Dupree’s claim that both categories refer to natural kinds and that scientific classifications are often driven by specific purposes. Then he outlined Khalidi’s view on natural kinds as causal (projectable) patterns of properties, while keeping a distinction between folk and scientific categories. Khalidi favors anti-essentialism and is aware of the possibility of revising categorization schemes. On the other hand, Prof. Dyrda emphasized that it is disputed which kind of social kind law is. Legal categories cannot be natural kinds if their properties are not causally, but only conventionally linked, while it may be argued that law cannot be reduced exclusively to conventions. Even though law is concept and convention-dependent, instances of it may not be such.

He concluded the lecture by pointing out that, unlike morality, conceptual differences between legal theory traditions are not just on the level of discourse, but rather can have important consequences, e.g. generate different legal norms.

Following was the Q&A part of the event, with substantial interest from the audience that was mainly focused on the importance of sociology (as an empirical science) for social ontology and the conceptual justification of the notion of kinds.
Ending the meeting, Julieta Rabanos thanked everyone for an excellent discussion, as well as Prof. Dyrda for the interesting lecture.