David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Review of Metaphysics 62 (1):3-43 (2008)
This paper responds to an argument of Hilary Putnam to the effect that the plurality of modern sciences shows us that any natural kind has a plurality of essences. In the past, he has argued that no system of representations, mental or linguistic, could have an intrinsic relationship to the world. Though he has granted that the Thomistic notion of form and its application to the identity of concepts may avoid these earlier objections, he has maintained that the advance of the sciences has shown us that there are too many substantial forms in any particular kind of thing to provide the unity of conceptual identity required by the Thomist’s account. Given the resemblance of Putnam’s position to the “pluralists” against whom Aquinas argued in the Summa Theologiae a consideration of Aquinas arguments is undertaken. Following this, the paper examines a particular case of recent scientific practice, in order to suggest whose position, Putnam’s or the Thomist’s, more adequately captures the practice of the natural sciences of today, and their bearing upon the metaphysical question of the nature of essence in natural kinds. The paper concludes that the Thomist position on the unity of form or essence, with qualifications made about distinct conceptual approaches to some object of investigation, and the use of analogy in sorting through these distinct approaches, is better capable of accounting for the actual goals and practices of scientific understanding as we see it practiced today than is Putnam’s transcendental nominalism and neopragmatism
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Travis Dumsday (2013). Using Natural-Kind Essentialism to Defend Dispositionalism. Erkenntnis 78 (4):869-880.
Similar books and articles
Neil E. Williams (2011). Putnam's Traditional Neo-Essentialism. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):151 - 170.
Bas C. van Fraassen (1997). Putnam's Paradox: Metaphysical Realism Revamped and Evaded. Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):17-42.
Sarah Borden Sharkey (2008). Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas on Being and Essence. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82 (1):87-103.
Nigel Leary (2007). Natural Kinds: (Thick) Essentialism or Promiscuous Realism? Philosophical Writings 34 (1):5 - 13.
Dag Nikolaus Hasse (2008). The Early Albertus Magnus and His Arabic Sources on the Theory of the Soul. Vivarium 46 (3):232-252.
André Kukla (1994). Scientific Realism, Scientific Practice, and the Natural Ontological Attitude. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (4):955-975.
Alexander Bird (2009). Essences and Natural Kinds. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. 497--506.
Terence Rajivan Edward (2013). From an Analysis of the Notion of Organization to Limits on Conceptual Diversity. Ethos 6 (1):86-94.
Anders Öberg (2011). Hilary Putnam on Meaning and Necessity. Dissertation, Uppsala University
John Lamont (1997). Aquinas on Divine Simplicity. The Monist 80 (4):521-538.
Grzegorz Bugajak (2008). On The Notion of Chance and Its Application in Natural Sciences. In Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy. 7-15.
Carleton B. Christensen (2001). Escape From Twin Earth: Putnam's 'Logic' of Natural Kind Terms. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (2):123-150.
Ausonio Marras (2001). On Putnam's Critique of Metaphysical Realism: Mind-Body Identity and Supervenience. Synthese 126 (3):407-426.
Christian Nimtz (2004). Two-Dimensionalism and Natural Kind Terms. Synthese 138 (1):125-48.
Added to index2011-01-09
Total downloads4 ( #289,040 of 1,410,127 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #177,743 of 1,410,127 )
How can I increase my downloads?