Katherine Ritchie  |  Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Irvine


Penultimate versions of my published work can be found below. Please cite the published versions. Feel free to contact me for drafts of works in progress at kcritchie@gmail.com.


Genericity, Stability, and Structural Interactions Project

I am a co-PI (along with Ny Vasil, CSUEB) on a 3-year NSF-funded project investigating the developmental trajectory of how people learn, represent and talk about generalizable regularities across social & natural domains. You can find more information about the project here.


Ritchie, K. (forthcoming). Labeling Unlabeled Identities. In New Perspectives on Conceptual Engineering Vol. 3: "Applied Conceptual Engineering” (M.G. Isaac & K. Scharp, (Eds.), Springer).

Noyes, A., Keil, F.C., Dunham, Y., & Ritchie, K. (2023). Same People, Different Group: Social structures are a Central Component of Group Concepts. Cognition.

Flocke, V & Ritchie, K. (2022) No “Easy” Answers to Ontological Category Questions Philosophical Perspectives.

Noyes, A., Dunham, Y., Keil, F.C., & Ritchie, K. (2021) Evidence for Multiple Sources of Inductive Potential: Occupations and Their Relations to Social Institutions. Cognitive Psychology.

Ritchie, K. (2021). Essentializing Inferences. Mind & Language.

Ritchie, K. (2021). Essentializing Language and the Prospects for Ameliorative Projects. Ethics.

Ritchie, K. (2021). Does Identity Politics Reinforce Oppression? Philosophers' Imprint.

Ritchie, K. & Knobe, J. (2020). Kindhood and Essentialism: Evidence from Language. Advances in Child Development and Behavior (M. Rhodes (Ed.))

Ritchie, K. (2020). Social Structures and the Ontology of Social Groups. Philosophy and Phenomonological Research.

Ritchie, K. (2020). What We Can Do. Philosophical Studies

Ritchie, K. (2020). Minimal Cooperation and Group Roles. Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency. (A. Fiebich (Ed.), Springer)

Ritchie, K. (2019). Should We Use Racial and Gender Generics? Thought.

Ritchie, K. (2018). Social Creationism and Social Groups. Collectivity: Ontology, Ethics, and Social Justice. (K. Hess, T. Isaacs, and V. Igneski (Eds.), Rowman & Littlefield)

Ritchie, K. (2017). Social Identity, Indexicality, and the Appropriation of Slurs Croatian Journal of Philosophy.

Ritchie, K. (2016). Can Semantics Guide Ontology? Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Ritchie, K. (2015). The Metaphysics of Social Groups. Philosophy Compass.

Ritchie, K. (2013). What Are Groups? Philosophical Studies.

Handbook Articles

Ritchie, K. (forthcoming). Language of Essence. In Routledge Handbook of Essence (K. Koslicki and M. Raven, Routledge).

Mason, R. & Ritchie, K. (2020). Social Ontology. Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics (R. Bliss and J. Miller (Eds.), Routledge).

Ritchie, K. (2017). Plural and Collective Noun Phrases. Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality. (M. Jankovic and K. Ludwig (Eds.), Routledge).

Book Reviews

Review of Asta’s Categories We Live By: The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, & Other Social Categories (2020, Analysis)

Review of Ron Mallon’s The Construction of Human Kinds (2017, Ethics)

Review of Deborah Tollefsen’s Groups as Agents (2016, Journal of Social Ontology)

Writing for a General Audience

Neither Fate Nor Fiction: Finding Social Groups in Networks of Relations (2019, The Philosopher)

Work in Progress

Email me for drafts!

Explaining Systematic Polysemy: Kinds and Individuation (with S. Prasada and A. Wellwood) (under revision following R&R)

Social Structures in Context (with Jessica Keiser) (under review)

Generics Favor Stability (with Ny Vasil)

Generics Across Contexts: Contextual Restriction and Structural Interactions Affect Generic Judgements (with Ny Vasil)

Default Domain Restriction Possibilities (with Henry Schiller)

Social Groups (commissioned for the Oxford Handbook of Social Ontology (Eds. S. Collins, B. Epstein, S. Haslanger, and H. B. Schmid))

Two Ways Not to Refer to a Kind

Review of Stephanie Collins's Organizations as Wrongdoers: From Ontology to Morality (critical notice commissioned by Analysis Reviews)

Review of Charlotte Witt's Social Goodness: The Ontology of Social Norms (with Daniel Kelly, commissioned by Mind)


Groups––A Semantic and Metaphysical Examination

(Supervisors: Josh Dever and Mark Sainsbury)

Short Dissertation Abstract: This manuscript is focused on the extent to which semantics can guide metaphysics. I argue that, at best, semantics can serve as a partial guide to metaphysics. Sometimes there will be indeterminate answers to questions of the form 'Does theory T carry a commitment to Fs?' Further, semantics will never answer questions regarding the nature of Fs.

In it I apply this methodology to plurals (e.g., 'the girls,' 'Tom, Luke and George') and collective nouns (e.g., 'the team,' 'a committee'). I argue that plurals are indeterminately committed to sums (or other singular entities) while collective nouns are determinately committed to groups. The semantics of collective nouns delivers the minimal verdict that groups exist, but says nothing about their nature. I also undertake an examination of the metaphysics of groups which goes beyond semantics to offer a substantive view of the metaphysics of groups.