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I am working on a paper in English and have stuck at taxonomy terms' usage. It is accepted that 'scientific disciplines divide the particulars they study into kinds'. But there are also taxonomy categories that rank above a kind (of particulars). In that case, the kind mediates that higher category and a particular: it acts as a middle category between them. For example, a biological species mediate a relevant particular and a genus, a member of which the species is itself. In this case, the name for the middle category is a species and for the higher one genus.

Now consider an example I am specifically interested in. Each object is characterised by the property of color (a higher category here); furthermore, we do not have one color but instead many kinds of color (white, yellow etc.--a middle category) which are instantiated by objects in the form of actual particular instances of them in space and time (a particular).

What would be right words (names) for the middle and higher categories in this example (for I think that the 'species' and the 'genus' could fit there)?

I posted this at EL&U but have got mutually exclusive suggestions, so perhaps someone could help me here by answering the question.

  • I agree with you. – Giorgi May 23 '17 at 10:07
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“In the process of classification one begins with a group of individuals (leafs) and arranges them into classes (twigs), called infimae*) species, none of which can be broken down into species but only into individuals.” (Without leafs and twigs, cited From Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Borchert, 2006, Logical Terms, Glossary of, “Classification”, p. 537, Vol. ?)

I have the impression that you want a natural and not an abstract classification. In this case the picture of a living tree would perhaps be appropriate. The categories are leaf (individual) …. twig (e.g. cyan) …. branch (property “Color”) … and trunk (property in a wider sense).

This classification may be further extended to the roots and to other trees of the forest and even to the air.


class of all properties................summum genus.........................trunk……….....highest class

the property "color"...................proximum genus........................branch………..a middle class

a color, e.g. cyan......................kind (infima species)…………....twig………….. the lowest class

---.............................................individuals………………………...leaf……………---



*) lat. infima = lowest (infimae = plural)

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  • I need terms for the higher and middle categories such that the middle one is the closest (general) category to both the higher one and the particulars the middle category includes. I think that a kind is a good (natural) choice for the middle category, which follows from the definition of a kind, but I have still stuck at the term of the higher category. I will think of your suggestion. Thanks. – Giorgi May 22 '17 at 12:26

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