On the Logic of Natural Kinds
Cocchiarella (Nino)
Source: Philosophy of Science 43, No. 2. (Jun., 1976), pp. 202-222.
Paper - Abstract

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JSTOR Abstract

    A minimal second order modal logic1 of natural kinds2 is formulated. Concepts are distinguished from properties and relations in the conceptual-logistic background of the logic through a distinction between free and bound predicate variables. Not all concepts (as indicated by free predicate variables) need have a property or relation corresponding to them (as values of bound predicate variables). Issues pertaining to identity and existence as impredicative concepts are examined and an analysis of mass terms as nominalized predicates for kinds of stuff is proposed. The minimal logic is extendible through a summum genus, an infima species or a partition principle for natural kinds3.
Philosophers Index Abstract
    This paper focuses on the confrontation in our common sense and scientific frameworks between (1) ontology and individuation4 in the context of a theory of natural kinds5 and (2) our conceptual devices for quantifying, identifying, and classifying things. It assumes that there are different stages of conceptual involvement in our common sense and scientific frameworks and investigates a stage at which sortal6 quantifiers and sortal7 identity are taken to be conceptually prior to absolute quantifiers and absolute identity and where the problem of cross-world and temporal re-identification of things is to be resolved in sortal8 terms. Only two minimal theses for re-identification through tense-logical and causal contexts are found to be valid on purely conceptual grounds; and while several other stronger theses are not found to be valid on purely conceptual grounds, their validity on ontological and methodological grounds is defended when the sortals9 in question serve to identify things belonging to a natural kind10.

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