Are natural kind terms special?

In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge (2010)
It is commonly assumed that natural kind terms constitute a distinct semantic category. This idea emerged during the 1970's following Kripke's and Putnam's well-known remarks on natural kind terms. The idea has stayed with us, although it is now recognized that the issues are considerably more complex than initially thought. Thus, it has become clear that much of Kripke's and Putnam's discussions were based on rather simplified views of natural kinds. It also turns out that the semantic issues are less straightforward than assumed - in particular, it is far from clear what it might mean to say that a kind term is rigid. Strikingly, however, these worries have not done much to undermine the confident assumption that natural kind terms form a special semantic category. In the paper I try to shake that confidence. I argue that although natural kind terms are no doubt important (for instance, from an explanatory point of view), we are certainly not warranted in concluding that they form a separate, semantic category among the kind terms.
Keywords natural kinds  natural kind terms  Kripke  metasemantics  LaPorte
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PhilPapers Archive Åsa Wikforss, Are natural kind terms special?
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