The problem of extensional adequacy for Devitt's rigid appliers

Análisis Filosófico 29 (2):219-237 (2009)
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Abstract

In the present paper, I examine how Michael Devitt's proposal as to how to understand the notion of rigidity for general terms fares as regards what I have called the 'criterion of extensional adequacy' for any such notion -namely, the condition according to which any notion of general term rigidity should make the class of rigid terms coincide with that of natural kind terms. I try to show that Devitt's defense of his view from the usual objections raised in the literature fails. In the first place, the proposal seems to overgeneralize, as terms such as 'television set' or 'table', would also be rigid appliers; as I try to show here, the arguments presented by Devitt in order to show that that is not the case are based on some alleged properties of those terms that are also true of some of the expressions he does consider as rigid. In the second place, the proposal also undergeneralizes; even though Devitt himself accepts that this is so, I try to show that his strategy to lessen the disappointment this causes also fails. En este trabajo examino el desempeño de la propuesta acerca de cómo entender la noción de rigidez para términos generales defendida por Michael Devitt respecto de lo que denomino el 'criterio de adecuación extensional' para una noción de rigidez -a saber, la condición según la cual una noción de rigidez para términos generales debería hacer coincidir la clase de términos rígidos con la clase de términos de género natural. Intento mostrar que las estrategias desplegadas por Devitt para defender su postura de las objeciones usuales no son exitosas. En primer lugar, la propuesta parece sobregeneralizar, dado que términos como 'televisor' o 'mesa' también serían aplicadores rígidos; en efecto, según intento defender aquí, los argumentos de Devitt tendientes a mostrar que no lo son se basan en supuestas características de estos términos que son igualmente válidas respecto de las expresiones que él considera rígidas. En segundo lugar, la propuesta también subgeneraliza; si bien Devitt acepta esto, hago notar que su estrategia para quitar dramatismo a este resultado también falla

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References found in this work

Rigid Application.Michael Devitt - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (2):139-165.
Rigidity and Essentiality.M. Gómez-Torrente - 2006 - Mind 115 (1):227--59.
Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms.Michael Devitt - 2011 - In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press.

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