Is water necessarily identical to H2O?

Philosophical Studies 98 (1):99-112 (2000)
Abstract
The “scientific essentialist” doctrine asserts that the following are examples of a posteriori necessary identities: water is H2O; gold is the element with atomic number 79; and heat is the motion of molecules. Evidence in support of this assertion, however, is difficult to find. Both Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke have argued convincingly for the existence of a posteriori necessities. Furthermore, Kripke has argued for the existence of a posteriori necessary identities in regard to a particular class of statements involving proper names. Neither Kripke nor Putnam, however, has argued convincingly that sentences containing syntactically complex terms or descriptive phrases can express a posteriori necessary identities. I will argue by way of a hypothetical example that ‘water is H2O’ does not express a necessary identity. My argument is unique in that it attacks the relevant sufficiency claim needed to underwrite this putative necessary identity.1 That is, even if we grant that water is necessarily composed of H2O, we should not accept that H2O necessarily forms water.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,088
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

148 ( #6,018 of 1,101,958 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #52,474 of 1,101,958 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.