What Are Natural Kinds?

Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):329-342 (2007)
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Abstract

Though the question is ontological, I will approach it through another, partially linguistic, question. What must natural kinds be like, if the conventional wisdom about natural kind terms is correct? Although answering this question won’t tell us everything we want to know, it will, I think, be useful in narrowing the range of feasible ontological alternatives. I will therefore summarize what I take to be the contemporary linguistic wisdom, and then test different proposals about kinds against it. As we will see, some fare better than others

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Scott Soames
University of Southern California

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