|Natural Kinds and Freaks of Nature|
|Source: Philosophy of Science 49, No. 1. (Mar., 1982), pp. 67-90|
|Paper - Abstract|
Essentialism - understood as the doctrine that there are natural kinds1 - can be sustained with respect to the most fundamental physical entities of the world, as I elsewhere argue. In this paper I take up the question of the existence of natural kinds2 among complex structures built out of these elementary ones. I consider a number of objections to essentialism, in particular Locke's puzzle about the existence of borderline cases. A number of recent attempts to justify biological taxonomy are critically examined. I conclude that theory partially justifies such taxonomies but supports only a weaker form of essentialism.
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