Are natural kinds reducible?

Alexander James Bird
King's College London
We talk as if there are natural kinds and in particular we quantify over them. We can count the number of elements discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy, or the number of kinds of particle in the standard model. Consequently, it looks at first sight at least, that natural kinds are entities of a sort. In the light of this we may ask certain questions: is the apparent existence of natural kinds real or an illusion? And if real, what sort of entity are natural kinds? Are they sui generis? Or can they be identified with or reduced to some other kind of entity? In this essay I shall look at possible reasons for asserting that either kinds are no sort of entity, or, if they are entities, their existence is equivalent to some fact not involving kinds. Richard Boyd seems to take the view that the apparent existence of natural kinds is an illusion.
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