Water is not H2O
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In defending semantic externalism, philosophers of language have often assumed that there is a straightforward connection between scientiﬁc kinds and the natural kinds recognized by ordinary language users.1 For example, the claim that water is H2O assumes that the ordinary language kind water corresponds to a chemical kind, which contains all the molecules with molecular formula H2O as its members. This assumption about the coordination between ordinary language kinds and scientiﬁc kinds is important for the externalist program, because it is what allows us to discover empirically the extensions of ordinary language kind terms.
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