Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited

Mind 124 (495):795-822 (2015)
Abstract
Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario, and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT)—that necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is of the same kind as another sample, B, if and only if A and B have the same microstructure—must be re-evaluated. The Twin Earth scenario also assumes the falsity of another essentialist principle (which I call INST): necessarily, there is a 1:1 correlation between (all of ) the chemical properties of a chemical substance and the microstructure of that substance. This assumption will be questioned, and it will be argued that, in fact, the best strategy for defending IDENT is to establish INST. The prospects for Natural Kind Essentialism and microstructural essentialism regarding chemical substances will be assessed with reference to recent work in the philosophy of chemistry. Finally, a weakened form of INST will be presented.
Keywords natural kinds  essentialism  philosophy of chemistry  Twin Earth  metaphysical necessity  a posteriori necessity  natural kind realism  scientific realism  microessentialism  chemical properties
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzv027
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References found in this work BETA
Causal and Metaphysical Necessity.Sydney Shoemaker - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):59–77.
Resurrecting Biological Essentialism.Michael Devitt - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.
Boundaries in Reality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Ratio 25 (4):405-424.
Soames's Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.

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Citations of this work BETA
Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality.Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press.
Soames's Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
On Deriving Essentialism From the Theory of Reference.Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2141-2151.
Logically Simple Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16:1-40.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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