Mind and Language 35 (2):183-208 (2020)

Authors
Kevin Tobia
Georgetown University
Joshua Knobe
Yale University
Abstract
The Twin Earth thought experiment invites us to consider a liquid that has all of the superficial properties associated with water (clear, potable, etc.) but has entirely different deeper causal properties (composed of “XYZ” rather than of H2O). Although this thought experiment was originally introduced to illuminate questions in the theory of reference, it has also played a crucial role in empirically informed debates within the philosophy of psychology about people’s ordinary natural kind concepts. Those debates have sought to accommodate an apparent fact about ordinary people’s judgments: Intuitively, the Twin Earth liquid is not water. We present results from four experiments showing that people do not, in fact, have this intuition. Instead, people tend to have the intuition that there is a sense in which the liquid is not water but also a sense in which it is water. We explore the implications of this finding for debates about theories of natural kind concepts, arguing that it supports views positing two distinct criteria for membership in natural kind categories – one based on deeper causal properties, the other based on superficial, observable properties.
Keywords concepts  essence  essentialism  Twin Earth  natural kinds  experimental philosophy
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12234
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
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Citations of this work BETA

Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.
The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (5):585-605.
How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania

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