Ontology, archetypes and the definition of 'mineral species'

Frank C. Hawthorne, Stuart J. Mills, Frédéric Hatert, Mike S. Rumsey
2021 Mineralogical magazine  
AbstractOntology deals with questions concerning what things exist, and how such things may be associated according to similarities and differences and related within a hierarchy. Ontology provides a rigorous way to develop a general definition of a mineral species. Properties may be divided into two principal groups: an intrinsic property is characteristic of the object and is independent of anything else; an extrinsic property depends on the relation between the object and other things. A
more » ... other things. A universal is an entity that is common to all objects in a set. Here the objects are mineral samples, each entity is a specific property of these minerals, and the set of objects is all mineral samples of that mineral species. The key intrinsic properties of a mineral species are its name, its end-member formula and Z (the number of formula units in the unit cell), its space group and the bond topology of the end-member structure. These are also universals as they are common to all mineral samples belonging to that mineral species. An archetype is a pure form which embodies the fundamental characteristics of an object. Thus the archetype of a mineral species embodies the above set of universals. Real mineral samples of this mineral species are imperfect copies of that archetype, with a range of chemical composition defined by the boundaries between end-member formulae of this and other end members of the same bond topology. The result is a formal definition of a mineral species: A specific mineral species is the set of imperfect copies of the corresponding archetype and is defined by the following set of universals: name, end-member formula and Z, space group, and bond topology of the end-member structure, with the range of chemical composition limited by the compositional boundaries between end members with the same bond topology.
doi:10.1180/mgm.2021.21 fatcat:237eyxc3q5bfhgsf5g2wborlnu