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Water has a microstructural essence after all

Hoefer, Carl and Marti, Genoveva (2018) Water has a microstructural essence after all. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In recent years attacks on the Kripke-Putnam approach to natural kinds and natural kind terms have proliferated. In a recent paper, (Häggqvist & Wikforss, 2017) attack the once-dominant essentialist account of natural kinds. Häggqvist & Wikforss also suggest that it is time to return to some sort of cluster-based descriptivist semantics for natural kind terms, thus targeting both the metaphysical and semantic tenets that underpin the Kripke-Putnam approach. In our paper we want to challenge both parts of Häggqvist and Wikforss’ project. We will argue that the anti-essentialist considerations and arguments they raise against the Kripke-Putnam view are far from compelling in some cases, and certainly not decisive against a reasonable form of the view. On the semantic side, although Häggqvist and Wikforss give few details about what a viable cluster-based descriptivist theory should look like, we will argue that one can already see the approach to be a non-starter. Ignorance and error arguments of the kinds provided by Kripke and Putnam continue to be decisive objections. The only way we can see to save the cluster descriptivist approach is to make the essential properties postulated by Kripke and Putnam become essential features of the descriptive cluster. But this makes the success of the approach parasitic on the correctness of the Kripke-Putnam view.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Hoefer, Carl
Marti, Genoveva
Additional Information: Forthcoming in European Journal for Philosophy of Science EPSA '17 papers
Keywords: microstructuralism, essences, natural kinds, reference
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Carl Hoefer
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 16:31
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 16:31
Item ID: 15377
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15377

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