from The Century Dictionary.

  • Belonging or pertaining to a sort or class.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Pertaining to a sort.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective philosophy Of or pertaining to a sort
  • adjective philosophy Having the character of a sortal
  • noun philosophy A type of universal that defines a particular sort of object


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

sort +‎ -al. Coined by John Locke in 1690 in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.


  • Many philosophers have claimed that the notion of a sortal is the same notion as developed by Aristotle under the label "secondary substance" in several of his writings.


  • But it is vital that the distinction between sortals, phase or ultimate, and expressions such as brown thing be clearly maintained, if the notion of sortal is to serve any formal purpose.


  • This is a rather radical move, since it applies not just to clouds, but to any kind of sortal for which a similar problem can be generated.

    The Problem of the Many

  • The first use of the term "sortal" is in Locke's 1690


  • In particular, we shall look at the issue of whether objects must be individuated under the kind of sortal expressions that correspond to Aristotelian substance concepts, or whether a more generic notion, such as physical body, will suffice.


  • ˜painting™ is an artifact sortal which is not derived from the purpose or function of the object, but from the way in which it has been produced.


  • "sortal", reviews ˜logics of sortals™ and concludes by attempting to summarize and evaluate the importance of the distinction (s).


  • For, e.g., if sortal terms such as ˜person™ and ˜organism™ are associated with different identity conditions, those who seek to reductively identify persons with biological organisms are involved in a category mistake.


  • The last worry for the constitution view was that it postulated an unexplained correspondence between the sortal terms in our language and the kinds of objects in the world.

    Material Constitution

  • ˜K™ and ˜K*™ are sortal terms denoting distinct kinds.

    Material Constitution


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