Groups, sets, and wholes

Rivista di Estetica 43 (24):126-127 (2003)
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As he recalls in his book Naive Physics, Paolo Bozzi’s experiments on naïve or phenomenological physics were partly inspired by Aristotle’s spokesman Simplicio in Galileo’s Dialogue. Aristotle’s ‘naïve’ views of physical reality reflect the ways in which we are disposed perceptually to organize the physical reality we see. In what follows I want to apply this idea to the notion of a group, a term which I shall apply as an umbrella expression embracing ordinary visible collections (of pieces of fruit in the fruit bowl), but also families, populations, kinds, categories, species and genera. I will try to determine to what extent we can understand what groups, in this broad sense, have in common and how they are distinguished from two sorts of entities with which they are standardly confused, namely sets and wholes.
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