Philosophy without borders, naturally

An interview with Harold Kincaid


  • Harold Kincaid University of Cape Town, South Africa



Harold Kincaid, interview, naturalism, methodology, interdisciplinarity, laws, social sciences, economics


The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics interviewed Harold Kincaid about, amongst others, what led him to have this diverse set of interests, his views on laws and causality, the relationships between philosophy and science, between economics and the social sciences, and conducting empirical work.

Author Biography

Harold Kincaid, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Harold Kincaid (Indiana, United States, 1952) is a philosopher of the social sciences in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Before South Africa, he was in the departments of Philosophy, Sociology, and Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was chair of the International Network for Economic Methodology between 2008 and 2010. He obtained a PhD in philosophy (1983), with a minor in economics, from Indiana University and University of Heidelberg.

Harold Kincaid’s research interests are wide-ranging. While he started his career tackling more general philosophy of science issues, his work addresses topics in the philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of economics, naturalism, philosophy of medicine, and he also conducts empirical work. He is the author of Philosophical foundations of the social sciences: analyzing controversies in social research (1996) and of Individualism and the unity of science: essays on reduction, explanation, and the special sciences (1997). He also edited or co-edited a large number of books: Toward a sociological imagination: bridging specialized fields (Phillips, Kincaid, and Scheff 2002),

Value-free science?: ideals and illusions (Kincaid, Dupré, and Wylie 2007), Establishing medical reality: essays in the metaphysics and epistemology of biomedical science (Kincaid and McKitrick 2007), Distributed cognition and the will: individual volition and social context (Ross et al. 2007), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics (Kincaid and Ross 2009), What is addiction? (Ross et al. 2010), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of social science (2012), Scientific metaphysics (Ross, Ladyman, and Kincaid 2013), Classifying psychopathology: mental kinds and natural Kinds (Kincaid and Sullivan 2014), Routledge companion to philosophy of medicine (Solomon, Simon, and Kincaid 2017). His work has been published in Philosophy of Science, Journal of Economic Methodology, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Synthese, The Monist, and Analyse & Kritik, among others. He currently carries out a research funded by the South African National Research Foundation titled Understanding addiction: using economic experiments to understand the dynamic of tobacco smoking.




How to Cite

Kincaid, H. (2017). Philosophy without borders, naturally: An interview with Harold Kincaid. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 10(1), 83–100.