Ostension, Names and Natural Kind Terms

Dialogue 23 (01):44-58 (1984)
It has been suggested that the theory of reference advanced by Kripke and Putnam implies, or presupposes, an aristotelian vision of natural kinds and essences. I argue that what is in fact established is that there are degrees of naturalness among kinds. A parallel argument shows that there are degrees of naturalness among individuals. A subsidiary theme of the paper is that the definition of "natural kind term" as "rigid designator of a natural kind" is mistaken. Names and natural kind terms are defined by ostension to a spatiotemporal part of what they ostend. This helps us understand why 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are cognitively non-equivalent.
Keywords natural kinds  ostension
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217300019120
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