Higher and Lower Essential Natures
Elder (Crawford)
Source: American Philosophical Quarterly, 31.3, July 1994, pp. 255-265
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    A main argument for natural kinds1 is that items classed together, by a science's taxonomy, must have "necessarily" at least some of their shared and distinctive properties, if the science's characterization of its kinds is to have inductive warrant. But this seems an argument for recognizing both highly general natural kinds2 (e.g., halogens) and highly specific ones (e.g., U-235). It could amount to a "reductio" of the belief in natural kinds3, unless there are ways of ruling out overly general or disjunctive kinds (e.g., jade), and overly specific ones (e.g., ice). This paper rules them out, defending natural kinds4.

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