David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (2):123-150 (2001)
Many still seem confident that the kind of semantic theory Putnam once proposed for natural kind terms is right. This paper seeks to show that this confidence is misplaced because the general idea underlying the theory is incoherent. Consequently, the theory must be rejected prior to any consideration of its epistemological, ontological or metaphysical acceptability. Part I sets the stage by showing that falsehoods, indeed absurdities, follow from the theory when one deliberately suspends certain devices Putnam built into it , presumably in order to block such entailments. Part II then raises the decisive issue of at what cost these devices do the job they need to do. It argues that - apart from possessing no other motivation than their capacity to block the consequences derived in Part I - they only fulfil this blocking function if they render the theory unable to deal with fiction and related 'make-believe' activities. Part III indicates the affinity Putnam's account has with the classically 'denotative' view of meaning, and thus how its weaknesses may be seen as a variant of the classical weakness of 'denotative' approaches. It concludes that the theory is a conceptual muddle.
|Keywords||Externalism Language Meaning Semantics Term Kripke, S Putnam, H|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.
Hilary Putnam (1970). Is Semantics Possible? Metaphilosophy 1 (3):187–201.
D. H. Mellor (1977). Natural Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 28 (4):299-312.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Aurelio Perez Fustegueras (1996). Sobre Semantica de Los Terminos de Genero Natural (on the Semantics of Natural-Kind Words). Theoria 11 (1):143-159.
Michael P. Wolf (2002). Kripke, Putnam and the Introduction of Natural Kind Terms. Acta Analytica 17 (1):151-170.
Jeeloo Liu (2002). Physical Externalism and Social Externalism: Are They Really Compatible? Journal of Philosophical Research 27:381-404.
Christian Nimtz (2004). Two-Dimensionalism and Natural Kind Terms. Synthese 138 (1):125-48.
Asa Maria Wikforss (2005). Naming Natural Kinds. Synthese 145 (1):65-87.
Corine Besson (2012). Empty Natural Kind Terms and Dry-Earth. Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425.
Jerrold J. Katz (1997). Analyticity, Necessity, and the Epistemology of Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (1):1-28.
Michael McGlone (2010). Putnam on What Isn't in the Head. Philosophical Studies 151 (2):199 - 205.
Eddy M. Zemach (1976). Putnam's Theory on the Reference of Substance Terms. Journal of Philosophy 73 (March):116-27.
Gabriele Contessa (2007). There Are Kinds and Kinds of Kinds: Ben-Yami on the Semantics of Kind Terms. Philosophical Studies 136 (2):217-248.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads111 ( #32,556 of 1,789,925 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #105,284 of 1,789,925 )
How can I increase my downloads?