Zdenka Brzović

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Philosophy

University of Rijeka


My interest in the topic of natural kinds emerged from the research of a particular case study in biological systematics, investigating species as the main candidates for biological natural kinds. In my PhD research, I extended the research to the general question about the criteria scientific classifications ought to fulfil in order to be considered natural kinds. In other words: What distinguishes especially successful scientific categories for which we are prone to conclude that they correspond to some real divisions in nature?

Natural kinds

There are two aspects to my research regarding natural kinds. A general one is the philosophical examination of the naturalistically oriented accounts of natural kinds, particularly in the life sciences. In other words, what philosophical account is suitable to capture classifications in the life sciences, can we be realists about natural kinds, and what is the role that our interests and values play in forming scientific classifications. A more specific aspect concerns the examination of the specific scientific case studies as candidates for natural kinds, biological categories such as species, or psychiatric categories such as antisocial personality disorders or psychopathy.

Biological functions

My research on biological functions is part of a collaborative research conducted in collaboration with Predrag Šustar. We work on the question what represents the relevant notion of function in biology, and specifically in genome biology. Furthermore, we address whether the account we defend can be transferred in the contexts of the debates in philosophy of medicine, where the notion of function plays relevant roles in defining the concepts of health and disease.

Scientific explanation

In my work, I examine the role natural kinds play in scientific laws and scientific explanations. Additionally, I am interested in recent debates about the causal explanation in the life sciences.

Since 2020

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia


PhD in Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia


MA in Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary


MA in Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Croatia

2018: Award from Croatian Institute of Philosophy for the best student essay (PhD level) in the academic year 2017/2018.

2018: Award for Excellence from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka for young researchers in Humanities