Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Reasoning
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It is at least plausible to suppose the world consists fundamenatally of natural kinds of substances, properties and processes. But whether this is so or not, it is certainly the case that a great deal of scientific research is devoted to their study. Most chemical research, for example, is concerned with the study of natural kinds of substances and processes, and with the attempt to discover their essential natures. Much of fundamental physics is about natural kinds of particles or fields, the kinds of properties they display, and the kinds of processes in which they may be involved. Even in biology, there are fundamental kinds of structures and processes which deserve the name ‘natural kinds’. It is important, therefore, to develop a theory of natural kinds adequate to reflect these concerns, to investigate the logic of natural kinds, and to elaborate a theory of natural kind reasoning. This essay attempts to make a start on this project.
KeywordsNatural Kind Essential Property Causal Power Natural Property Property Class
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