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  1. No, water (still) doesn’t have a microstructural essence.Sören Häggqvist - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-13.
    Häggqvist and Wikforss argued that in the case of so-called natural kind terms, semantic externalism relies on an untenable metaphysics of kinds: microessentialism. They further claimed that this metaphysics fails, for largely empirical reasons. Focussing on the case of water, Hoefer and Martí European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 9, rejoin that suitably construed, microessentialism is correct. I argue that their defence of microessentialism fails.
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  • Scientific Enquiry and Natural Kinds: From Planets to Mallards.P. D. Magnus - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
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  • Water has a Microstructural Essence After All.Genoveva Martí & Carl Hoefer - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-15.
    In recent years attacks on the Kripke-Putnam approach to natural kinds and natural kind terms have proliferated. In a recent paper, Häggqvist and Wikforss 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. (...)
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  • Mixture and Chemical Combination and Related Essays: A Response to Robert Deltete and Anastasios Brenner.Paul Needham - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 6 (3):233-245.
    Robert Deltete and Anastasios Brenner have provided a thorough examination of my translation of Duhem’s Le mixte et la combinaison chimique (1902) and associated essays. I am very grateful for their efforts and gratified that such competent reviewers should be generally positive. They provide an overview of relevant aspects of Duhem’s life and work, which may serve to introduce him to readers of this journal and promote interest in Duhem studies. They also raise and answer some questions about the interpretation (...)
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  • Interdisciplinary Foundations for the Science of Emotion: Unification Without Consilience.Cecilea Mun - 2021 - London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This monograph introduces a meta-framework for conducting interdisciplinary research in the science of emotion, as well as a framework for a particular kind of theory of emotion. It can also be understood as a “cross-over” book that introduces neophytes to some of the current discourse and major challenges for an interdisciplinary approach to the science of emotion, especially from a philosophical perspective. It also engages experts from across the disciplines who are interested in conducting an interdisciplinary approach to research and (...)
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  • Water has a Microstructural Essence After All.Carl Hoefer & Genoveva Martí - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):12.
    In recent years attacks on the Kripke-Putnam approach to natural kinds and natural kind terms have proliferated. In a recent paper, Häggqvist and Wikforss 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. (...)
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  • Semantic Normativity, Deference and Reference.Diego Marconi - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (2):273-287.
    I discuss Paolo Casalegno's objections to my views about semantic normativity as presented in my book Lexical Competence (MIT Press, 1997) and in a later paper. I argue that, contrary to Casalegno's claim, the phenomenon of semantic deference can be accounted for without having to appeal to an “objective” notion of reference, i.e. to the view that words have the reference they have independently of whatever knowledge or ability is available to or within the linguistic community. Against both Casalegno and (...)
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  • A Mereological Interpretation of the Phase Rule.Paul Needham - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):900-910.
    Gibbs’s phase rule treats mixtures by relating the number of independent variables governing their state to the numbers of phases and independent substances. For the case of a single substance, it provides a criterion of purity. But where more substances are involved, the notion of independent substance is less readily understood. Textbook writers sometimes use algebraic terminology in ways that are suggestive but cannot be taken as literally accurate. I suggest that a mereological interpretation applies to these cases, as it (...)
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  • Entropy and Chemical Substance.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):921-932.
    In this essay I critically examine the role of entropy of mixing in articulating a macroscopic criterion for the sameness and difference of chemical substances. Consider three cases of mixing in which entropy change occurs: isotopic variants, spin isomers, and populations of atoms in different orthogonal quantum states. Using these cases I argue that entropy of mixing tracks differences between physical states, differences that may or may not correspond to a difference of substance. It does not provide a criterion for (...)
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  • Elements, Compounds, and Other Chemical Kinds.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864-875.
    In this article I assess the problems and prospects of a microstructural approach to chemical substances. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam famously claimed that to be gold is to have atomic number 79 and to be water is to be H2O. I relate the first claim to the concept of element in the history of chemistry, arguing that the reference of element names is determined by atomic number. Compounds are more difficult: water is so complex and heterogeneous at the molecular (...)
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  • Elements, Compounds and Other Chemical Kinds.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864--875.
    In this article I assess the problems and prospects of a microstructural approach to chemical substances. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam famously claimed that to be gold is to have atomic number 79 and to be water is to be H2O. I relate the first claim to the concept of element in the history of chemistry, arguing that the reference of element names is determined by atomic number. Compounds are more difficult: water is so complex and heterogeneous at the molecular (...)
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  • Substance and Modality.Paul Needham - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):829-840.
    The Aristotelian distinction between actual and potential presence of a substance in a mixture forms part of a conception of mixture which stands in contrast to atomist and Stoic theories as propounded by the ancients. But the central ideas on which these theories are built need not be combined and opposed to one another in precisely the ways envisaged by these ancient theories. This is well illustrated by Duhem, who maintained the Aristotelian idea that the original ingredients are only potentially, (...)
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  • Microessentialism: What is the Argument?Paul Needham - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):1-21.
    According to microessentialism, it is necessary to resort to microstructure in order to adequately characterise chemical substances such as water. But the thesis has never been properly supported by argument. Kripke and Putnam, who originally proposed the thesis, suggest that a so-called stereotypical characterisation is not possible, whereas one in terms of microstructure is. However, the sketchy outlines given of stereotypical descriptions hardly support the impossibility claim. On the other hand, what naturally stands in contrast to microscopic description is description (...)
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  • Matter, Structure, and Change: Aspects of the Philosophy of Chemistry.Michael Weisberg & Paul Needham - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):927-937.
    This article is an overview of some of the contemporary debates in philosophy of chemistry. We discuss the nature of chemical substances, the individuation of chemical kinds, the relationship between chemistry and physics, and the nature of the chemical bond.
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  • How Much Philosophy in the Philosophy of Chemistry?Alexandru Manafu - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):33-44.
    This paper aims to show that there is a lot of philosophy in the philosophy of chemistry—not only in the problems and questions specific to chemistry, which this science brings up in philosophical discussions, but also in the topics of wider interest like reductionism and emergence, for which chemistry proves to be an ideal case study. The fact that chemical entities and properties are amenable to a quantitative understanding, to measurement and experiment to a greater extent than those in psychology (...)
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  • Questions Asked and Unasked: How by Worrying Less About the 'Really Real' Philosophers of Science Might Better Contribute to Debates About Genetics and Race.Lisa Gannett - 2010 - Synthese 177 (3):363 - 385.
    Increased attention paid to inter-group genetic variability following completion of the Human Genome Project has provoked debate about race as a category of classification in biomedicine and as a biological phenomenon at the level of the genome. Philosophers of science favor a metaphysical approach relying on natural kind theorizing, the underlying assumptions of which structure the questions asked. Limitations arise the more metaphysically invested and less attuned to scientific practice these questions are. Other questions—arguably, those that matter most socially and (...)
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  • Life Without Definitions.Carol E. Cleland - 2012 - Synthese 185 (1):125-144.
    The question ‘what is life?’ has long been a source of philosophical debate and in recent years has taken on increasing scientific importance. The most popular approach among both philosophers and scientists for answering this question is to provide a “definition” of life. In this article I explore a variety of different definitional approaches, both traditional and non-traditional, that have been used to “define” life. I argue that all of them are deeply flawed. It is my contention that a scientifically (...)
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  • A Pluralist Approach to Extension: The Role of Materiality in Scientific Practice for the Reference of Natural Kind Terms.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):100-108.
    This article argues for a different outlook on the concept of extension, especially for the reference of general terms in scientific practice. Scientific realist interpretations of the two predominant theories of meaning, namely Descriptivism and Causal Theory, contend that a stable cluster of descriptions or an initial baptism fixes the extension of a general term such as a natural kind term. This view in which the meaning of general terms is presented as monosemantic and the referents as stable, homogeneous, and (...)
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  • Natural kind terms again.Panu Raatikainen - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-17.
    The new externalist picture of natural kind terms due to Kripke, Putnam, and others has become quite popular in philosophy. Many philosophers of science have remained sceptical. Häggqvist and Wikforss have recently criticised this view severely. They contend it depends essentially on a micro-essentialist view of natural kinds that is widely rejected among philosophers of science, and that a scientifically reasonable metaphysics entails the resurrection of some version of descriptivism. It is argued in this paper that the situation is not (...)
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  • Representational Kinds.Joulia Smortchkova & Michael Murez - forthcoming - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), What are Mental Representations? New York, État de New York, États-Unis:
    Many debates in philosophy focus on whether folk or scientific psychological notions pick out cognitive natural kinds. Examples include memory, emotions and concepts. A potentially interesting type of kind is: kinds of mental representations (as opposed, for example, to kinds of psychological faculties). In this chapter we outline a proposal for a theory of representational kinds in cognitive science. We argue that the explanatory role of representational kinds in scientific theories, in conjunction with a mainstream approach to explanation in cognitive (...)
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  • Dwatery Ocean.Michela Massimi - 2012 - Philosophy 87 (4):531-555.
    In this paper I raise a difficulty for Joseph LaPorte's account of chemical kind terms. LaPorte has argued against Putnam that H₂O content is neither necessary nor sufficient to fix the reference of the kind term 'water' and that we did not discover that water is H₂O. To this purpose, he revisits Putnam's Twin Earth story with the fictional scenario of Deuterium Earth, whose ocean consists of 'dwater', to conclude that we did not discover that deuterium oxide is (a kind (...)
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  • Essence and Natural Kinds: When Science Meets Preschooler Intuition.Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4:108-66.
  • Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality.Sören Häggqvist & Åsa Wikforss - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):911-933.
    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 (...)
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  • What to Say to a Skeptical Metaphysician: A Defense Manual for Cognitive and Behavioral Scientists.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):603-627.
    A wave of recent work in metaphysics seeks to undermine the anti-reductionist, functionalist consensus of the past few decades in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. That consensus apparently legitimated a focus on what systems do, without necessarily and always requiring attention to the details of how systems are constituted. The new metaphysical challenge contends that many states and processes referred to by functionalist cognitive scientists are epiphenomenal. It further contends that the problem lies in functionalism itself, and that, to (...)
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  • Le Poidevin on the Reduction of Chemistry.Robin Findlay Hendry & Paul Needham - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):339-353.
    In this article we critically evaluate Robin Le Poidevin's recent attempt to set out an argument for the ontological reduction of chemistry independently of intertheoretic reduction. We argue, firstly, that the argument he envisages applies only to a small part of chemistry, and that there is no obvious way to extend it. We argue, secondly, that the argument cannot establish the reduction of chemistry, properly so called.
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  • When Did Atoms Begin to Do Any Explanatory Work in Chemistry?Paul Needham - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):199 – 219.
    During the 19th century atomism was a controversial issue in chemistry. It is an oversimplification to dismiss the critics' arguments as all falling under the general positivist view that what can't be seen can't be. The more interesting lines of argument either questioned whether any coherent notion of an atom had ever been formulated or questioned whether atoms were ever really given any explanatory role. At what point, and for what reasons, did atomistic hypotheses begin to explain anything in chemistry? (...)
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  • Transient Things and Permanent Stuff.Paul Needham - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):147 – 166.
    A view of individuals as constituted of quantities of matter, both understood as continuants enduring over time, is elaborated in some detail. Constitution is a three-place relation which can't be collapsed to identity because of the place-holder for a time and because individuals and quantities of matter have such a radically different character. Individuals are transient entities with limited lifetimes, whereas quantities are permanent existents undergoing change in physical and chemical properties from time to time. Coincidence, considered as a matter (...)
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  • Authority and Natural Kind Essence.Jonah Goldwater - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (1):1-12.
    If natural kinds have microstructural essences they have them independently of rules for the application of kind terms. This suggests that what those rules are should make no difference to the essences being discoverable. I present two thought-experiments that suggest otherwise, however. Each shows an authority’s application of rules creates the appearance of there being kind essences; absent those rules, the appearance vanishes. This suggests natural kind essences are not independent of authority-sanctioned rules.
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  • A Sense So Rare: Measuring Olfactory Experiences and Making a Case for a Process Perspective on Sensory Perception.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (3):258-268.
    Philosophical discussion about the reality of sensory perceptions has been hijacked by two tendencies. First, talk about perception has been largely centered on vision. Second, the realism question is traditionally approached by attaching objects or material structures to matching contents of sensory perceptions. These tendencies have resulted in an argumentative impasse between realists and anti-realists, discussing the reliability of means by which the supposed causal information transfer from object to perceiver takes place. Concerning the nature of sensory experiences and their (...)
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  • Pluralism or Unity in Biology: Could Microbes Hold the Secret to Life?Carol E. Cleland - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):189-204.
    Pluralism is popular among philosophers of biology. This essay argues that negative judgments about universal biology, while understandable, are very premature. Familiar life on Earth represents a single example of life and, most importantly, there are empirical as well as theoretical reasons for suspecting that it may be unrepresentative. Scientifically compelling generalizations about the unity of life must await the discovery of forms of life descended from an alternative origin, the most promising candidate being the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Nonetheless, (...)
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  • Substance and Time.Paul Needham - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):485-512.
    ‘Water is H 2 O’ is naturally construed as an equivalence. What are the things to which the two predicates ‘is water’ and ‘is H 2 O’ apply? The equivalence presupposes that substance properties are distinguished from phase properties. A substance like water (H 2 O) exhibits various phases (solid, liquid, gas) under appropriate conditions, and a given (say liquid) phase may comprise several substances. What general features distinguish substance from phase properties? I tackle these questions on the basis of (...)
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  • The Development of Problems Within the Phlogiston Theories, 1766–1791.Geoffrey Blumenthal & James Ladyman - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (3):241-280.
    This is the first of a pair of papers. It focuses on the development of the most notable phlogistic theories during the period 1766–1791, including the main experiments that their proponents proposed them to interpret. There was a rapid proliferation of late phlogistic theories, particularly from 1784, and the accounts of composition and important implications of the main theories are set out and their issues analysed. Each of them either reached impasses due to internal problems, or included features that made (...)
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  • An Aristotelian Theory of Chemical Substance.Paul Needham - 2009 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 12 (1):149-164.
    In the course of developing his theory of what would now be called chemical substance, Aristotle introduces what appear to be two distinct definitions of element alongside his notion of mixt (homogeneous mixture). The present paper is concerned with the integration of these ideas in a uniform theory, which calls for some speculation about the import of elemental proportions in compounds.
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  • Reduction and Emergence: A Critique of Kim.Paul Needham - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):93-116.
    In a recent critique of the doctrine of emergentism championed by its classic advocates up to C. D. Broad, Jaegwon Kim (Philosophical Studies 63:31–47, 1999) challenges their view about its applicability to the sciences and proposes a new account of how the opposing notion of reduction should be understood. Kim is critical of the classic conception advanced by Nagel and uses his new account in his criticism of emergentism. I question his claims about the successful reduction achieved in the sciences (...)
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  • Are Natural Kind Terms Special?Åsa Wikforss - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge.
    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 (...)
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  • Natural Kind Thingamajigs.Paul Needham - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):97 - 101.
    I criticize the treatment of natural kinds as some sort of object, advocated in a recent paper by Alexander Bird. The arguments he gives for regimenting an illustrative statement featuring chemical kinds in his preferred manner are not conclusive, and his criticisms of an alternative strategy involving universally quantified sentences fail. This is important because of the widespread but poorly supported assumption that expressions of natural kinds should be treated as singular referring terms.
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  • Questions Asked and Unasked: How by Worrying Less About the ‘Really Real’ Philosophers of Science Might Better Contribute to Debates About Genetics and Race.Lisa Gannett - 2010 - Synthese 177 (3):363-385.
    Increased attention paid to inter-group genetic variability following completion of the Human Genome Project has provoked debate about race as a category of classification in biomedicine and as a biological phenomenon at the level of the genome. Philosophers of science favor a metaphysical approach relying on natural kind theorizing, the underlying assumptions of which structure the questions asked. Limitations arise the more metaphysically invested and less attuned to scientific practice these questions are. Other questions—arguably, those that matter most socially and (...)
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  • Is Water a Mixure?: Bridging the Distinction Between Physical and Chemical Properties.Paul Needham - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):66-77.
    Two inter-linked theses are defended in this paper. One is the Duhemian theme that a rigid distinction between physical and chemical properties cannot be upheld. Duhem maintained this view not because the latter are reducible to the former, but because if physics is to remain consistent with chemistry it must prove possible to expand it to accommodate new features, and a rigid distinction would be a barrier to this process. The second theme is that naturally occurring isotopic variants of water (...)
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  • Smelling Matter.Benjamin D. Young - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-18.
    While the objects of olfaction are intuitively individuated by reference to the ordinary objects from which they arise, this intuition does not accurately capture the complex nature of smells. Smells are neither ordinary three-dimensional objects, nor Platonic vapors, nor odors. Rather, smells are the molecular structures of chemical compounds within odor plumes. Molecular Structure Theory is offered as an account of smells, which can explain the nature of the external object of olfactory perception, what we experience as olfactory objects, and (...)
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  • Natural Kinds.Emma Tobin & Alexander Bird - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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