more from Brian Ellis

Single Idea 13583

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 3. Knowing Kinds]

Full Idea

There are reasons to believe that there are natural kinds that might never be instantiated, such as a transuranic element, capable of existing for some fraction of a second, but which has never actually existed anywhere.

Gist of Idea

There might be uninstantiated natural kinds, such as transuranic elements which have never occurred


Brian Ellis (Scientific Essentialism [2001], 2.05)

Book Reference

Ellis,Brian: 'Scientific Essentialism' [CUP 2007], p.81

A Reaction

He cautiously claims that kinds are ontologically prior to their individual members. I would say that there is no natural kind of the type that he describes. He says you have at least some grounds for predicting what kinds are possible.