Synthese 138 (1):125-48 (2004)

Authors
Christian Nimtz
Bielefeld University
Abstract
Kripke and Putnam have convinced most philosophers that we cannot do metaphysics of nature by analysing the senses of natural kind terms -- simply because natural kind terms do not have senses. Neo-descriptivists, especially Frank Jackson and David Chalmers, believe that this view is mistaken. Merging classical descriptivism with a Kaplan-inspired two-dimensional framework, neo-descriptivists devise a semantics for natural kind terms that assigns natural kind terms so-called 'primary intensions'. Since primary intensions are senses by other names, Jackson and Chalmers conclude that we can and should do metaphysics of nature by analysing the natural kind concepts competent speakers possess. I argue that neo-descriptivism does not provide a suitable basis for doing this kind of metaphysics. I first of all give a detailed account of the neo-descriptivist semantics and deflate the intuitive support neo-descriptivists try to draw from their case of the XYZ-world. I then present three arguments -- the Argument from Ignorance, the Argument from Conceptual Analysis, and the Argument from Laziness. Taken together, these arguments undermine the neo-descriptivist analysis of natural kind terms. I conclude that natural kind terms do not have senses, that we cannot do metaphysics of nature by analysing the senses of our kind terms, and that the Kripke-Putnam account still provides the best semantics for natural kind terms we have
Keywords Dimension  Logic  Natural Kinds  Semantics  Term  Chalmers, D  Jackson, F
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:SYNT.0000012205.86593.46
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 55,981
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
On Referring.P. F. Strawson - 1950 - Mind 59 (235):320-344.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Two-Dimensional Semantics.Laura Schroeter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Skepticism, Invulnerability, and Epistemological Dissatisfaction.Chris Ranalli - 2013 - In C. Illies & C. Schaefer (eds.), Metaphysics or Modernity? Bamberg University Press. pp. 113-148.
Analytic Truths—Still Harmless After All These Years?Christian Nimtz - 2003 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 66 (1):91-118.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

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.
Naming Natural Kinds.Åsa Maria Wikforss - 2005 - Synthese 145 (1):65-87.
Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
Empty Natural Kind Terms and Dry Earth.Corine Besson - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425.
Natural Phenomenon Terms.Richard Gray - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):141–148.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
238 ( #36,054 of 2,403,526 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #88,973 of 2,403,526 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes