More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms
Lowe (E.J.)
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. In More Kinds of Being E. J. Lowe, one of the world′s most distinguished contemporary metaphysicians, thoroughly reworks and expands upon the philosophical concepts first put forth in his acclaimed book "Lowe (E.J.) - Kinds of Being: Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms" (1989).
  2. Taking into account significant developments in his metaphysical thinking over the past 20 years, Lowe delves deeper into the fundamental ontological categories into which all existing entities fall.
  3. While this new volume strengthens and extends many of his original arguments, Lowe′s focus remains on the category of kinds or sorts and their individual instances – the latter being persisting objects, which exist at every level of the spatial scale from galaxies to atoms and include, as an especially important case, persons such as ourselves.
  4. He proceeds to show that while an object of one sort is occasionally constituted by, but not identical with, an object of another sort, persons appear not to be constituted by anything, making them special among the beings that populate the universe.
  5. Lowe also reveals why the category of kinds or sorts plays a crucial role in our understanding of scientific laws and of the dispositional properties or powers of things – a role which requires us to rethink the very foundations of modern logic in order to accommodate the logical relations between law–statements and disposition–statements.
  6. Combining an Aristotelian spirit with startling originality, More Kinds of Being presents a thought-provoking and important new contribution to the field of contemporary analytical metaphysics.
  7. About the Author: E.J. Lowe (1950-2014) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Durham. One of the foremost metaphysicians working in philosophy during his time, he was the author of numerous influential articles and books in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and the history of philosophy, including Kinds of Being (Blackwell, 1989) and, more recently, The Four–Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science (2006).
  8. Reviews:
    • The two issues I have raised only serve to highlight the originality of Lowe’s work. More Kinds of Being is a remarkable book. It sets the stage for numerous debates in metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind that are sure to continue much longer than another two decades.
      Mind, 1 January 2013
    • Throughout, one finds the usual clarity, thoroughness, and systematic thinking that are a mark of all of Lowe′s ever expanding and remarkable corpus. This book should be in every college and university library.
      Choice, July 2010
    • More Kinds of Being is densely and masterfully argued, written with great clarity, and makes a number of important original contributions to the field. It is certainly essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary analytical metaphysics. This is a metaphysical study of lasting value and significance.
      Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, August 12, 2010
    Preface* – vii
    Acknowledgements – xi
  1. Introduction – 1
    The Varieties of 'Is' – 3
    Individuals, Kinds, and Realism – 4
    Semantics, Metaphysics, and Necessity – 6
    New Developments* – 8
  2. Sortal1 Terms and Criteria of Identity – 12
  3. Individuals, Sorts, and Instantiation – 29
  4. Number, Unity, and Individuality* – 42
  5. The Absoluteness of Identity: A Defence – 57
    Appendix: Some Formal Principles and Arguments – 72
  6. Identity and Constitution – 77
  7. Parts and Wholes – 92
  8. Persons and Their Bodies – 104
    Matter and Organisms – 104
    Organisms and Persons – 113
    Is There a Criterion of Personal Identity? – 125
  9. Sortal2 Terms and Natural Laws – 141
  10. Plural Quantification and Sortal3 Reference* – 164
  11. Laws, Dispositions, and Sortal4 Logic – 179
    Appendix: An Axiomatic System of Sortal5 Logic – 194
  12. What Sorts of Things Are There?* – 198
    The Syntax and Semantics of Complex Sortal6 Terms – 198
    On the Identity of Sorts – 212
    Bibliography* – 217
    Index – 223


Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (6 Feb. 2015)

"Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Preface"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity and the Logic of Sortal Terms

Full Text
  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 universals1 or 'kinds',
    3. Attributive universals2, 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 universals3, 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 'sortal4 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 sortal5 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 statue6 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 asterisk7 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 ("Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Preface")

Footnote 7: Note the meaning of the “*”!

"Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Introduction"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 1

"Lowe (E.J.) - Sortal Terms and Criteria of Identity"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 2

"Lowe (E.J.) - Individuals, Sorts, and Instantiation"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 3

Author’s Introduction
  1. Two kinds of 'is' which are commonly conflated by philosophers and logicians are the 'is' of attribution, figuring in a sentence like 'This pen is yellow', and what I call the 'is' of instantiation, figuring in sentences like 'Dobbin is a horse' and 'A horse is a mammal' - that is, sentences of the form 'Such-and-such is (a) φ', where 'φ' is a sortal1 term and where 'such-and-such' may either be a particular or individual term (like the proper name 'Dobbin') or else again a sortal2 term. Sentences of this form I shall call instantiation sentences. Before saying more about the 'is' of instantiation, however, I must say something further about the terms, sortal3 and individual, which may figure in sentences featuring it.
  2. As we saw in the previous chapter, an important characteristic of sortal4 terms from a semantic point of view is that they typically have associated with them criteria of identity - unless, perhaps, they designate what I called 'basic' sorts, if indeed such sorts exist. But I would urge, in agreement with Peter Geach, that individual terms - such as proper names - also typically have, as an essential semantic feature, criteria of identity associated with their application. This, it may be observed, runs somewhat counter to the currently popular view that proper names have no Fregean 'sense' and are purely denotative or referential - but not necessarily wholly counter to it5. I do not want to suggest that the sense of a proper name is the same as that of some identifying description: that, for example, 'Aristotle' might have the sense of 'the tutor of Alexander the Great' or 'the greatest pupil of Plato', say, nor even that the sense of a proper name involves the senses of a 'cluster' (of) such descriptions, as Searle suggests6. What I do hold is that, by whatever means a person may have been introduced to a certain proper name, he has not grasped its correct use unless he has grasped what criterion of identity is associated with it. Thus, for instance, if someone has picked up the name 'Aristotle' from overhearing a conversation amongst philosophers, but does not grasp that it has associated with it the criterion of identity for a man (because, say, he thinks that these philosophers are referring to a book), then I should say that he fails to refer to Aristotle in his subsequent attempts to use the name - indeed, that he fails to refer to anything.
  3. This thesis concerning the semantics of proper names is, of course, intimately connected with my contention that individuals must always be thought of as being individuals of some sort. The criterion of identity associated with a proper name will just be the one associated with those sortal7 terms that designate the sort(s) or kind(s) which any individual capable of being referred to by that name instantiates. Thus, 'Aristotle', conceived as a name for a man, must have associated with it the criterion of identity which is also associated with the sortal8 term 'man'. So I do not - and certainly need not - insist that the sense of a proper name determines which individual it refers to, but at most only what sort of individual its referent is; for it is this that determines which criterion of identity is associated with the name.

COMMENT: Replacement for "Lowe (E.J.) - Individuals, Sorts, and Instantiation".

In-Page Footnotes ("Lowe (E.J.) - Individuals, Sorts, and Instantiation")

Footnote 5: I am thinking, primarily, of the view made famous by "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity".

Footnote 6: In "Searle (John) - Proper Names", 1958.

"Lowe (E.J.) - Number, Unity, and Individuality"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 4

"Lowe (E.J.) - The Absoluteness of Identity: A Defence"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 5

"Lowe (E.J.) - Identity and Constitution"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 6

"Lowe (E.J.) - Parts and Wholes"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 7

Author’s Introduction
  1. It is often said that certain 'wholes' are 'greater than the sum of their parts'. Since it is not entirely clear what 'greater than' is supposed to mean in this context, I would prefer simply to say that some wholes are distinct from the sum of their parts - or, more accurately, distinct from any sum of their proper parts, since we may need to allow that there is more than one way of individuating a thing's 'parts' and hence, perhaps, no such thing as the sum of its parts.
  2. But this is not true, it seems, of all wholes. By a 'whole', I should explain, I just mean a thing which has proper parts, or is 'composite', and I shall restrict my attention almost entirely to concrete wholes. (Henceforth, I shall drop the qualification 'proper' to avoid prolixity and so should be understood to be using the term 'part' in a sense in which it is not the case that any thing is, trivially, a part of itself.)
  3. I shall begin by defending the claims that I have just made. Later. I shall go on to examine their implications for the views of certain other philosophers, in particular those who adhere to a relativist conception at identity.
  4. Consider again our old friend, Tibbles the cat1. Tibbles2 is a composite thing: he certainly has parts. Tibbles3's tail - call it 'Tail' - is a part of Tibbles4. But is there an object which is, so to speak, Tibbles5 minus Tail? I rather think there is and that this object is also a part of Tibbles6, albeit a very large part. …

COMMENT: See "Lowe (E.J.) - Parts and Wholes" for an earlier attempt.

In-Page Footnotes ("Lowe (E.J.) - Parts and Wholes")

Footnote 4:

"Lowe (E.J.) - Persons and Their Bodies"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 8

"Lowe (E.J.) - Sortal Terms and Natural Laws"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 9

"Lowe (E.J.) - Plural Quantification and Sortal Reference"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 10

"Lowe (E.J.) - Laws, Dispositions, and Sortal Logic"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 11

"Lowe (E.J.) - What Sorts of Things Are There?"

Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 12

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