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The Over-Generalization Problem: Predicates Rigidly Signifying the "Unnatural"

Dan López de Sa
Synthese
Vol. 163, No. 2 (Jul., 2008), pp. 263-272
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40271027
Page Count: 10
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The Over-Generalization Problem: Predicates Rigidly Signifying the
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Abstract

According to the simple proposal, a predicate is rigid iff it signifies the same property across the different possible worlds. The simple proposal has been claimed to suffer from an over-generalization problem. Assume that one can make sense of predicates signifying properties, and assume that trivialization concerns, to the effect that the notion would cover any predicate whatsoever, can be overcome. Still, the proposal would over-generalize, the worry has it, by covering predicates for artifactual, social, or evaluative properties, such as 'is a knife,' 'is a bachelor,' or 'is funny.' In defense, it is argued that rigidity for predicates as characterized plays the appropriate theoretical role, and that the contention that "unnatural" properties are not to be rigidly signified is ungrounded.

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