More Kinds of Being: Preface
Lowe (E.J.)
Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms
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  1. In 1989, my book "Lowe (E.J.) - Kinds of Being: Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms" was published by Blackwell in the Aristotelian Society monograph series. The book received quite favourable reviews, including "Simons (Peter) - Review of 'Kinds of Being: A Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms' by E. J. Lowe" in Mind and "Noonan (Harold) - Review of 'Kinds of Being: A Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms' by E. J. Lowe" in Philosophy, and it has subsequently been referred to by numerous other authors in books and journals. In the latter part of the 1990s the book went out of print and copies of it have been increasingly difficult to obtain, even though the frequency of references to it has not diminished. For this reason alone, a case could be made out for bringing out a second edition. However, it would have been a missed opportunity to let such a second edition of the book differ from the first only in respect of a few minor revisions to the text and an updating of references. Apart from anything else, my views on a number of topics dealt with in the book have developed in quite major ways since 1989, some of these developments being reflected in various later articles and books of mine, but especially in "Lowe (E.J.) - The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity and Time" (1998) and The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006). See also my chapter "Lowe (E.J.) - Individuation" (2003).
  2. Perhaps the most important of these developments was my conversion to what I call 'the four-category ontology', a metaphysical system that draws its inspiration from Aristotle and maintains that there are four fundamental ontological categories:-
    1. Substantial individuals,
    2. Substantial universals or 'kinds',
    3. Attributive universals, and
    4. Particularized properties or 'modes'.
    In effect, the first edition of Kinds of Being was explicitly committed only to the first and second of these categories and implicitly to the third. It recognized no place for what I call modes and other philosophers nowadays commonly call 'tropes' - that is, properties conceived as particulars rather than universals, such as the individual whiteness of a particular piece of white marble. There is very little in the first edition of Kinds of Being that I now consider to be positively mistaken, but there is a good deal that warranted careful reworking to bring it into line with my current metaphysical opinions and to make it a more useful resource for readers of my later books, especially The Four-Category Ontology. For example, in The Four-Category Ontology I do not devote much discussion to what I call 'sortal1 logic' (only part of Chapter 4), crucial though this is for a proper understanding of my account of natural laws and dispositions. Rather, I refer the reader to my extensive treatment of this topic in Kinds of Being. However, because the ontology of Kinds of Being is not the fully fledged four-category ontology of my later work, readers who do turn to it for this purpose are in danger of being confused.
  3. Kinds of Being merited not only extensive reworking, but also some expansion. In particular, there are two closely related topics that are underdeveloped in the first edition of the book but which deserve fuller treatment, in line with later work of mine on these topics. The topics in question are those of number and plurality (including plural quantification). In a paper published in 1991, "Lowe (E.J.) - Noun Phrases, Quantifiers, and Generic Names", I offer reasons for thinking that the apparent reference of sortal2 terms to kinds cannot be explained away in terms of plural quantification over individuals, thereby filling a gap in my argument, in Kinds of Being, in favour of such reference being genuine. In another paper published in 2003, "Lowe (E.J.) - Identity, Individuality, and Unity", I compare Locke's view of number with Frege's, coming down more in favour of the former than of the latter. Since issues concerning number and issues concerning identity are intimately related, and Locke's and Frege's positions concerning the latter are extensively discussed in the first edition of Kinds of Being, it was appropriate to augment the book with a chapter on the topic of number, since there is no extended treatment of this in the first edition. Thus the revised version of the book contains twelve chapters instead of just ten, the two new chapters drawing on and further developing the ideas first presented in the articles just mentioned. Here I should also remark that, while I do discuss number in both The Possibility of Metaphysics and The Four-Category Ontology, I have significantly new things to say on the topic in the additional chapter concerning it.
  4. Another, albeit lesser, change to the book concerns its discussion of criteria of identity. In the same year in which Kinds of Being was published, 1989, "Lowe (E.J.) - What Is a Criterion Of Identity?" appeared in Philosophical Quarterly 39, pp. 1-21. This paper, which has frequently been cited, contains a much fuller discussion of certain issues that were touched upon only briefly in the relevant parts of Kinds of Being, and since 1989 I have had extensive further thoughts concerning these important issues: see, especially, "Lowe (E.J.) - Objects and Criteria of Identity" (1997). It was clearly appropriate to mention some of my latest thinking on these matters in the new version of the book. Although the foregoing is a particularly noteworthy example, there are many other issues discussed in Kinds of Being whose treatment was clearly capable of improvement by a substantial reworking in the light of more recent thoughts of mine on the subjects in question, such as the notion of material constitution - the relationship that I take to hold between, for instance, a bronze statue and the lump of bronze from which it is fashioned.
  5. There are some distinguished recent precedents for a project of the kind that I have now undertaken - that is, a thorough reworking and expansion of a book, going beyond what is normal for a 'second edition'. I have in mind, in particular, "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance Renewed" (2001), his reworking of "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance" (1980), and "Mellor (D.H.) - Real Time II" (1998), his replacement for "Mellor (D.H.) - Real Time" (1981). In each case, the gap between the two versions was in the region of twenty years, which is the same in the case of Kinds of Being and More Kinds of Being. Since Wiggins and Mellor are amongst the philosophers whose work in metaphysics I have always admired the most, I am more than happy to follow their example in this regard. Just as they did, I have retained an echo of the title of the original book in the title of the new version. I thought it particularly appropriate to call the new version More Kinds of Being, not only because this version expands upon the work of Kinds of Being, but also because it reflects my new commitment to the existence of a kind - in the sense of category - of being not recognized in the earlier work, namely, the category of modes or tropes. Perhaps, in this regard, I could justly say to my earlier self what Hamlet said to his friend Horatio, 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in [y]our philosophy' (Hamlet, act 1, scene 5).
  6. In order to gain a clearer view of the extent of the changes made to Kinds of Being, it may be helpful for the reader to compare the original table of contents of Kinds of Being with that of More Kinds of Being. In the latter, I have marked with an asterisk3 additional chapters or chapter-sections, as well as the new Preface and Bibliography. Note that Chapter 12 in More Kinds of Being covers much the same territory as does the corresponding Chapter 10 of Kinds of Being, but has been given a more perspicuous title and is subdivided into two sections. Note also that the new fourth section of the introductory Chapter 1 explains more fully to the reader how and why the new version of the book differs from the old and how the new version relates to other recent work of mine, especially my The Four-Category Ontology.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 3: Note the meaning of the “*”!

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