Mind 124 (495):795-822 (2015)

Authors
Tuomas E. Tahko
Bristol University
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

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press. pp. 237-253.
Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library. pp. 29-45.
The Epistemology of Essence.Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110.
The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.

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