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Are Natural Kind Terms Special?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2010 (English)In: The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds / [ed] Helen Beebee and Nigel Sabbarton-Leary, New York: Routledge , 2010, 64-84 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Routledge , 2010. 64-84 p.
Keyword [en]
natural kind terms, rigidity, descriptivism, externalism
National Category
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-39753ISBN: 978-0-415-87366-6OAI: diva2:321263
Available from: 2010-05-31 Created: 2010-05-31 Last updated: 2011-02-22Bibliographically approved

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