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Some philosophers understand natural kinds to be the categories which are constraints on enquiry. In order to elaborate the metaphysics appropriate to such an account, I consider the complicated history of scurvy, citrus, and vitamin C. It may be tempting to understand these categories in a shallow way (as mere property clusters) or in a deep way (as fundamental properties). Neither approach is adequate, and the case instead calls for middle-range ontology: starting from categories which we identify in the world and elaborating their structure, but not pretending to jump ahead to a complete story about fundamental being.


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Magnus, P.D. 2023. “Scurvy and the Ontology of Natural Kinds.” Philosophy of Science.

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