Is H2O a Liquid, or Water a Gas?

In Beyond Rigidity I argue that, like ‘red’, ‘water’ can be used both as a singular term, and (when combined with the copula) as a predicate – as illustrated by (1) and (2). 1a. Red is a color. b. Bill’s shirt is red. 2a. Unlike gold, which is an element, water is a compound. b. The liquid in the glass is water. Just as ‘red’ designates a kind instances of which (at a world-state w) constitute the extension of the predicate ‘is red’ (at w), so ‘water’ designates a kind instances of which constitute the extension of the predicate ‘is water’. This observation is used in analyzing examples of the necessary aposteriori like those in (3), which have the force of quantified conditionals in which both the grammatical subjects and ‘is H2O’ function as mass predicates, true of all instances of the associated kinds. 3a. Water is H2O. b. Ice is H2O. c. Water vapor is H2O..
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