Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality

Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent that fails to vindicate the Kripke–Putnam account. This undermines the metasemantics required for anti-descriptivist semantics.1 Introduction2 From Semantics to Metaphysics3 Metaphysics, Part I: The Demise of Micro-essentialism  3.1 Original micro-essentialism  3.2 Placeholder essentialism4 Metaphysics, Part II: Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory5 Prospects for Natural Kind Term Semantics http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Oxford University Press

Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0007-0882
eISSN
1464-3537
D.O.I.
10.1093/bjps/axw041
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent that fails to vindicate the Kripke–Putnam account. This undermines the metasemantics required for anti-descriptivist semantics.1 Introduction2 From Semantics to Metaphysics3 Metaphysics, Part I: The Demise of Micro-essentialism  3.1 Original micro-essentialism  3.2 Placeholder essentialism4 Metaphysics, Part II: Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory5 Prospects for Natural Kind Term Semantics

Journal

The British Journal for the Philosophy of ScienceOxford University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2018

References

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