Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Naming Natural Kinds

Åsa Maria Wikforss
Synthese
Vol. 145, No. 1 (May, 2005), pp. 65-87
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118582
Page Count: 23
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Naming Natural Kinds
Preview not available

Abstract

This paper discusses whether it can be known a priori that a particular term, such as 'water', is a natural kind term, and how this problem relates to Putnam's claim that natural kind terms require an externalist semantics. Two conceptions of natural kind terms are contrasted: The first holds that whether 'water' is a natural kind term depends on its a priori knowable semantic features. The second -- currently gaining in popularity among externalists -- holds that 'water' is a natural kind term only if water in fact turns out to be a natural kind. In the paper I argue that the first conception of natural kind terms should be rejected, since it does not adequately account for instances in which a purported natural kind term fails to name a natural kind (familiar examples are 'air', 'sand' and 'jade'). However, I argue further Putnam's externalism depends on this first, traditional conception of natural kind terms. The externalist is left with a Hobson's choice: Either hold on to the traditional conception of natural kind terms, with its inherent problems, or reject extemalism. I argue that we should in fact reject externalism and reconsider the possibility of giving a descriptivist account of the meaning of natural kind terms.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[65]
    [65]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
66
    66
  • Thumbnail: Page 
67
    67
  • Thumbnail: Page 
68
    68
  • Thumbnail: Page 
69
    69
  • Thumbnail: Page 
70
    70
  • Thumbnail: Page 
71
    71
  • Thumbnail: Page 
72
    72
  • Thumbnail: Page 
73
    73
  • Thumbnail: Page 
74
    74
  • Thumbnail: Page 
75
    75
  • Thumbnail: Page 
76
    76
  • Thumbnail: Page 
77
    77
  • Thumbnail: Page 
78
    78
  • Thumbnail: Page 
79
    79
  • Thumbnail: Page 
80
    80
  • Thumbnail: Page 
81
    81
  • Thumbnail: Page 
82
    82
  • Thumbnail: Page 
83
    83
  • Thumbnail: Page 
84
    84
  • Thumbnail: Page 
85
    85
  • Thumbnail: Page 
86
    86
  • Thumbnail: Page 
87
    87