David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):1-19 (2011)
‘Water is H2O’ is one of the most frequently cited sentences in analytic philosophy, thanks to the seminal work of Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam in the 1970s on the semantics of natural kind terms. Both of these philosophers owe an intellectual debt to the empiricist metaphysics of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, while disagreeing profoundly with Locke about the reality of natural kinds. Locke employs an intriguing example involving water to support his view that kinds (or ‘species’), such as water and gold, are the workmanship of the human mind. This is the point of his story about a winter visitor to England from Jamaica, who is astonished to find that the water in his basin has turned solid overnight, and proceeds to call it ‘hardened water’. Locke criticizes this judgement, maintaining that it is more consonant with common sense to regard water and ice as different kinds of substance. Putnam, by implication, disagrees. Deploying his imaginary example of Twin Earth—a distant planet where a watery-looking substance, XYZ, rather than H2O, fills the oceans and rivers—he maintains that common sense supports the judgement that XYZ and H2O, despite their superficial similarity, are not the same kind of substance, precisely because their molecular compositions are different. Here it will be argued that both views are mistaken, but that, in this dispute, Locke has more right on his side than his modern opponents do
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Hilary Putnam (1975). Mind, Language, and Reality. Cambridge University Press.
John Dupré (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press.
John Locke (2008/1995). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford University Press.
Saul A. Kripke (1980/1998). Naming and Necessity. Harvard University Press.
E. J. Lowe (2006). The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Tuomas E. Tahko (2015). Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited. Mind 124 (495):795-822.
Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). Soames's Deflationism About Modality. Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
Similar books and articles
Asa Maria Wikforss (2005). Naming Natural Kinds. Synthese 145 (1):65-87.
David Barnett (2000). Is Water Necessarily Identical to H2O? Philosophical Studies 98 (1):99-112.
Nigel Leary (2007). Natural Kinds: (Thick) Essentialism or Promiscuous Realism? Philosophical Writings 34 (1):5 - 13.
Scott Soames (2006). Is H2O a Liquid, or Water a Gas? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (3):635-639.
Jan-Erik Jones (2010). Locke on Real Essences, Intelligibility and Natural Kinds. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:147-172.
Jaap van Brakel (2005). On the Inventors of XYZ. Foundations of Chemistry 7 (1):57-84.
B. C. Malt (1994). Water is Not H 2 O. Cognitive Psychology 27:41--70.
Nigel Leary (2009). How Essentialists Misunderstand Locke. History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (3):273-292.
David J. Chalmers (2002). The Components of Content (Revised Version). In Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. OUP Usa
Robin Findlay Hendry (2006). Elements, Compounds, and Other Chemical Kinds. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864-875.
Gabor Forrai (2010). Locke on Substance in General. Locke Studies 10 (27):27-59.
Jan-Erik Jones (2007). Locke Vs. Boyle: The Real Essence of Corpuscular Species. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (4):659 – 684.
Added to index2011-05-18
Total downloads117 ( #30,686 of 1,790,293 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #106,127 of 1,790,293 )
How can I increase my downloads?