Kuhn on essentialism and the causal theory of reference

Philosophy of Science 77 (4):544-564 (2010)
Abstract
The causal theory of reference is often taken to provide a solution to the problems, such as incomparability and referential discontinuity, that the meaning-change thesis raised. I show that Kuhn successfully questioned the causal theory and Putnam's idea that reference is determined via the sameness relation of essences that holds between a sample and other members of a kind in all possible worlds. Putnam's single ‘essential' properties may be necessary but not sufficient to determine membership in a kind category. Kuhn argued that extension is fixed by similarity-dissimilarity relations that are liable to change in taxonomic reorganizations of science. *Received October 2009; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Institute of Philosophy, University of Leiden, Martin de Vrieshof 4, 2300 RS Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: j.kuukkanen@phil.leidenuniv.nl
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Citations of this work BETA
Alex Stewart Davies (2013). Kuhn on Incommensurability and Theory Choice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 44 (4):571-579.
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