Synthese 198 (Suppl 3):831-848 (2017)

Kripke holds the thesis that identity statements containing natural kind terms are if true, necessarily true; these statements can be denominated theoretical identities. Kripke alleges that the necessity of theoretical identities grounds on the linguistic feature that natural kind terms are rigid designators. Nevertheless, I argue that the conception of natural kind terms as rigid designators, in one of their most natural views, hinders the establishment of the truth of theoretical identities and thus of their necessity. However, in Kripke’s works another proposal, not linguistic but metaphysical, is found to justify the presumed necessity of theoretical identities; it grounds on essentialism concerning natural kinds. In this regard, I question some of Kripke’s main claims, focusing on one of the main examples of theoretical identities put forward by Kripke, i.e., “Water is H2\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$_2$$\end{document}O”. I challenge his a priori claims concerning what should be the essence of a natural kind like water. Furthermore, I adduce that the character of that theoretical identity is not that claimed by Kripke, since in the term flanking the right side of the identity sign it has to be resorted to the notion of similarity or it should have the form of a disjunction of a cluster of substances.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1498-5
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References found in this work BETA

Reference and Essence.Nathan U. Salmon - 1981 - Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Identity and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1971 - In Milton Karl Munitz (ed.), Identity and Individuation. New York: New York University Press. pp. 135-164.
Afterthoughts.David Kaplan - 1989 - In J. Almog, J. Perry & H. Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 565-614.
Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change.Joseph LaPorte - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.

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