Cats are not necessarily animals

Erkenntnis 89 (4):1387-1406 (2024)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Some plausibly necessary a posteriori theoretical claims include ‘water is H 2 O’, ‘gold is the element with atomic number 79’, and ‘cats are animals’. In this paper I challenge the necessity of the third claim. I argue that there are possible worlds in which cats exist, but are not animals. Under any of the species concepts currently accepted in biology, organisms do not belong essentially to their species. This is equally true of their ancestors. In phylogenetic systematics, monophyletic clades such as the animal kingdom are composed of an ancestral stem species and all of its descendants. If the stem species had not existed, neither would the clade. Thus it could have been the case that all the organisms which actually belong to the animal kingdom might have existed yet not have been animals.

Similar books and articles

Could Cats Turn Out to Be Robots?Jonathan Michael Wilwerding - 1990 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Intentionality.Alex Byrne - 2005 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge.
Keep Your Cats Indoors: A Reply to Abbate.Bob Fischer - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (3):463-468.
For their own good: captive cats and routine confinement.Clare Palmer & Peter Sandoe - 2014 - In Lori Gruen (ed.), Ethics of Captivity. Oxford University Press. pp. 135-155.
Problem Animals.Anna Peterson - 2019 - Environmental Ethics 41 (2):129-141.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-08-12

Downloads
385 (#52,199)

6 months
122 (#31,970)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Margarida Hermida
King's College London

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
A matter of individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
It ain’t necessarily so.Hilary Putnam - 1962 - Journal of Philosophy 59 (22):658-671.

View all 28 references / Add more references