On the Necessity of Natural Kinds

  • John Collier
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 12)


Natural kinds are central to most scientific reasoning about the world. For that matter, they are central to most kinds of systematic reasoning that are not purely analytic. In this essay I will investigate why natural kinds are used in science and the extent to which science requires them. These issues revolve around the role of nomological necessity in science and the role of natural kinds in natural laws. I will give an account of nomological necessity and the necessary (essential) properties of natural kinds that distinguishes the necessity involved from analyticity, logical necessity, and metaphysical necessity. The distinction is based on a metaphysical difference between propositions that must be true and propositions that cannot be false.


Causal Relation Natural Kind Scientific Reasoning Natural Classification Systematic Reasoning 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Collier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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