Heythrop College Publications

Law, Stephen (2015) Natural Kinds of Substance. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 94 (2), pp. 283-300. [Journal Article]

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1080/00048402.2015.1046384
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    This paper presents an extension of Putnam’s account of how substance terms such as ‘water’ and ‘gold’ function and of how a posteriori necessary truths concerning the underlying microstructures of such kinds may be derived. The paper has three aims: (1) to refute a familiar criticism of Putnam’s account: that it presupposes what Salmon calls an ‘irredeemably metaphysical, and philosophically controversial, theory of essentialism’. I show how all the details of Putnam’s account – including those Salmon believes smuggle in such essentialist commitments – can be squared with a rejection of any such essentialist metaphysics. (2) to reveal why Steward is wrong to suppose that, by helping himself to the claim that ‘H2O’ is a rigid designator of a substance, Kripke, too, presupposes something controversially ‘metaphysical’. (3) to show how my proposed account also sidesteps a variety of objections raised by Needham and others who argue that Kripke’s and Putnam’s accounts of how ‘water’ and ‘gold’ function founder upon the sheer microstructural complexity of the phenomena in question.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Australasian Journal of Philosophy
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Australasian Journal of Philosophy on 21 May 2015, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00048402.2015.1046384.
    Keywords: Putnam, essentialism, natural kind.
    Department: Philosophy
    Depositing User: Vicky Rowley
    Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 11:49
    Last Modified: 21 Nov 2016 21:30
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/2219

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