By Helen Beebee, Nigel Sabbarton-Leary
Essentialism--roughly, the view that ordinary types have discrete essences, producing truths which are beneficial yet knowable in simple terms a posteriori--is an more and more renowned view within the metaphysics of technological know-how. whilst, philosophers of language were subjecting Kripke’s perspectives concerning the lifestyles and scope of the mandatory a posteriori to rigorous research and feedback. Essentialists commonly entice Kripkean semantics to inspire their radical extension of the world of the required a posteriori; yet they infrequently try to offer any semantic arguments for this extension, or have interaction with the severe paintings being performed via philosophers of language. This assortment brings authors on each side jointly in a single quantity, therefore aiding the reader to determine the connections among perspectives in philosophy of language at the one hand and the metaphysics of technology at the different. the result's a booklet that may have an important impression at the debate approximately essentialism, encouraging essentialists to interact with debates in regards to the semantic presuppositions that underpin their place, and, encouraging philosophers of language to have interaction with the metaphysical presuppositions enshrined in Kripkean semantics.
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Extra resources for The semantics and metaphysics of natural kinds
Pendulums were brought into existence by something very like a paradigminduced gestalt switch’ (1996: 120). In other words, the conceptual shifts involved in changes of paradigm are not merely reconceptualisations of the very same independently existing entities referred to by occupants of previous paradigms; the world that the occupants of the new paradigm inhabit and talk about is literally a different world. Putnam (1975: 235–8) argues that his (and, by extension, Kripke’s) account of a posteriori necessity undermines Kuhn’s relativist position.
I think that this conclusion is incorrect. In the next sections, I will develop an account of rigidity that is ‘exclusive’ and that does not trivialize when general terms are considered. To do so, I will fi rst briefly outline Kaplan’s semantic and metasemantic framework of direct reference for proper names. I will then argue that this framework can be used to develop a notion of rigidity that carves at the semantic joints: it applies to proper names and natural kind terms, and not to defi nite descriptions and descriptive general terms.
Semantics of Natural Language, Dordrecht, Netherlands: D. ) Kuhn, T. S. (1996) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd edn. Chicago: Chicago University Press. ) LaPorte, J. (1998) ‘Living water’, Mind, 107: 451–5. (2004) Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Leary, N. (2009) ‘How essentialists misunderstand Locke’, History of Philosophy Quarterly, 26: 273–92. Lewis, D. K. (1986a) On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell. (1986b) Philosophical Papers, Vol.