Volume 14, Issue 2, 2017
Markku Keinänen, Jani Hakkarainen
Kind Instantiation and Kind Change
A Problem for Four-Category Ontology
In Lowe’s Four-Category Ontology, instantiation is a basic formal ontological relation between particulars (objects, modes) and their kinds (kinds, attributes). Therefore, instantiation must be considered as a metaphysically necessary relation, which also rules out the metaphysical possibility of kind change. Nevertheless, according to Lowe, objects obtain their identity conditions in a more general level than specific natural kinds, which allows for kind change. There also seem to be actual examples of kind change. An advocate of Four-Category Ontology is obliged to resolve the tension between these mutually incompatible claims. In this article, we argue that the only viable option for an advocate of Four-Category Ontology is to bite the bullet and stick to the necessity of each of the most specific natural kinds to the object instantiating it. As a major drawback, the four-category ontologist does not have any credible means of allowing for kind change or determination of the identity conditions on a more general level.