Natural Kinds: (Thick) Essentialism or Promiscuous Realism?

Philosophical Writings 34 (1):5 - 13 (2007)

Authors
Nigel Leary
University of Birmingham
Abstract
Theoretical identity statements of the form "water is H2O‟ are allegedly necessary truths knowable a posteriori, and assert that nothing could be water and not be H2O. The necessary a posteriori nature of these identity claims has been taken by Kripke, Putnam and Donnellan to justify a move from talk of reference (language) to talk of essence (metaphysics), and has motivated much of contemporary essentialism. In this paper I will contest this move from reference to essence, and argue that (i.) the only way to derive essentialism from semantics (specifically direct reference) is to assume it as a premise, (ii.) that contemporary essentialism is a metaphysical assumption not a thesis, and (iii.) – assuming the accuracy of the analogy between proper names and natural kind terms – present an alternative version of natural kinds classification that is interest-relative, dependent on practical application and reflects the contingent state of affairs which is our world.
Keywords Natural Kinds  Essentialism  Kripke  Putnam
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,822
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

OK or OK*—Putnam’s Way to Essentialism.Weng-Fang Wang - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:237-250.
Thomas Kuhn's Misunderstood Relation to Kripke-Putnam Essentialism.Rupert Read & Wes Sharrock - 2002 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (1):151-8.
How Essentialists Misunderstand Locke.Nigel Leary - 2009 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (3):273-292.
Essences and Natural Kinds.Alexander Bird - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. pp. 497--506.
Natural Kinds and Freaks of Nature.Evan Fales - 1982 - Philosophy of Science 49 (1):67-90.
Putnam's Way to Essentialism.Wen-Fang Wang - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:111-117.
Kinds, Projectibility and Explanation.Sören Häggqvist - 2005 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):71-87.
Putnam's Traditional Neo-Essentialism.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):151 - 170.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-04-30

Total views
2 ( #1,264,662 of 2,265,144 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #604,785 of 2,265,144 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature