Natural Kind Terms Are Similar to Proper Names in Being World-Independent

Philosophical Writings 19:51-68 (2002)
Abstract
According to the New Theory of Reference, proper names (and indexicals) and natural kind terms are semantically similar to each other but crucially different from definite descriptions and “ordinary” predicates, respectively. New Theorists say that a name, unlike a definite description, is a directly referential nondescriptional rigid designator, which refers “without a mediation of the content” and is not functional (i.e. lacks a Carnapian intension). Natural kind terms, such as ‘horse’ and ‘water’, are held to have similar distinctions, in contrast to other predicates. However, the New Theory contains some problems related to reference, descriptionality, content and meaning. In view of these problems, it will be argued that the distinctive shared feature of proper names and natural kind terms, while technically corresponding to nonfunctionality, is to be explicated in terms of independence of possible worlds, rather than in terms of reference and content: natural kind terms are world-independent predicates, making “worldless” predications. Just as, say, ‘Elvis’ names Elvis even with respect to “Elvisless” worlds, or, rather, names Elvis independently of worlds, natural kind terms are in an important sense “worldless” as well: to talk about Elvis is to talk about him irrespective of moments of time and possible worlds, and is to talk about a human, also irrespective of moments and worlds, while it is not to talk about, say, a drug-addict irrespective of moments, nor about a singer irrespective of worlds. There is no genuinely timeless and worldless predication of the sort “Elvis is (was) bald”, but there is, it seems, such a predication “Elvis is (was) human”. This notion of independence of times and worlds is detached from those of descriptionality and content mediation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,827
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
Rigid Kind Terms.Jussi Haukioja - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:55-61.
Rigidity, Natural Kind Terms, and Metasemantics.Corine Besson - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge. pp. 25--44.
Natural Phenomenon Terms.Richard Gray - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):141–148.
Necessity and Rigidly Designating Kind Terms.Ben S. Cordry - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 119 (3):243-264.
In Defense of Obstinacy.João Branquinho - 2003 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):1–23.
Names, and What They Are Names Of.Greg Carlson - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):69-70.
Possibility.Michael Jubien - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Reference Borrowing.Michael Devitt - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):361-366.
Rigidity and Actuality-Dependence.Jussi Haukioja - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):399-410.
Added to PP index
2011-05-17

Total downloads
49 ( #115,514 of 2,211,068 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #221,750 of 2,211,068 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature