Authors
Genoveva Martí
ICREA And University Of Barcelona
Abstract
In recent years attacks on the Kripke-Putnam approach to natural kinds and natural kind terms have proliferated. In a recent paper, Häggqvist and Wikforss attack the once-dominant essentialist account of natural kinds. Häggqvist & Wikforss also suggest that it is time to return to some sort of cluster-based descriptivist semantics for natural kind terms, thus targeting both the metaphysical and semantic tenets that underpin the Kripke-Putnam approach. In our paper we want to challenge both parts of Häggqvist and Wikforss’ project. We will argue that the anti-essentialist considerations and arguments they raise against the Kripke-Putnam view are far from compelling in some cases, and certainly not decisive against a reasonable form of the view. On the semantic side, although Häggqvist and Wikforss give few details about what a viable cluster-based descriptivist theory should look like, we will argue that one can already see the approach to be a non-starter. Ignorance and error arguments of the kinds provided by Kripke and Putnam continue to be decisive objections. The only way we can see to save the cluster descriptivist approach is to make the essential properties postulated by Kripke and Putnam become essential features of the descriptive cluster. But this makes the success of the approach parasitic on the correctness of the Kripke-Putnam view.
Keywords Essentialism  Natural kinds  Natural kind terms
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Reprint years 2019
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-018-0236-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism and Pluralism.Hasok Chang - 2012 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science.
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Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change.Joseph Laporte - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):672-674.

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