Watered Down Essences and Elusive Speech Communities: Two Objections against Putnam's Twin Earth Argument

Hybris. Internetowy Magazyn Filozoficzny 38:22-41 (2017)
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The paper presents two objections against Putnam’s Twin Earth argument, which was intended to secure semantic externalism. I first claim that Putnam’s reasoning rests on two assumptions and then try to show why these assumptions are contentious. The first objection is that, given what we know about science, it is unlikely that there are any natural-kind terms whose extension is codetermined by a small set of microstructures required by Putnam’s indexical account of extension determination. The second objection is that there may not be a plausible concept of a speech community whose adoption would classify Oscar and Twin Oscar as members of different speech communities and, at the same time, render Oscar and Twin Oscar as being in the same psychological state. I contend that Putnam’s argument fails because both objections are justified.



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References found in this work

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Ann S. Ferebee - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 35 (1):167.
Resurrecting Biological Essentialism.Michael Devitt - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.

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