Temporal externalism, natural kind terms, and scientifically ignorant communities

Philosophical Papers 35 (1):55-68 (2006)
John Collins
East Carolina University
Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, practical judgments of sameness of extension over time with the claim that linguistic usage determines word extensions. I argue that Ebbs shows at most that no theory other than TE can effect this reconciliation. Furthermore, while Ebbs’ argument undermines Jessica Brown’s solutions to two closely related problems about natural kind term extensions (Brown 1998), TE can solve both problems without difficulty. Some criticisms of TE are briefly addressed as well.
Keywords Content  Epistemology  Externalism  Natural Kinds  Semantics  Temporal  Term  Brown, Jessica  Ebbs, Gary
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DOI 10.1080/05568640609485172
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Truthmaker Realism.Barry Smith - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):274 – 291.
Against Temporal Externalism.J. Brown - 2000 - Analysis 60 (2):178-188.
Predicate Meets Property.Mark Wilson - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):549-589.

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