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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Para-Natural Kinds

Para-Natural Kinds

Chapter:
(p.113) 6 Para-Natural Kinds
Source:
Carving Nature at Its Joints
Author(s):

Roy Sorensen

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.003.0006

This chapter begins with a definition of the para-natural kind, which is an absence defined by a natural kind. As scientists discover new natural kinds, they also discover new para-natural kinds—although para-reflections and para-refractions have been widely overlooked. There is little pressure to correct the marginal confusions between reflections and para-reflections because the generalizations that govern one work well for the other; the positive transfer of learning from one to the other is symmetrical. An absence is not a substance and is consequently not a natural kind, although many of its features can also be found in natural kinds that it can often be mistaken as one. Para-natural kinds also differ from substances that are defined in opposition to other natural kinds.

Keywords:   para-natural kind, natural kind, para-reflections, para-refractions, absence, substance

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