Panu Raatikainen
Tampere University
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 quite as dark for the new theory of reference as many critics suggest. There are several distinct questions here which should not be conflated and ought to be dealt with one by one. Descriptivism remains arguably problematic.
Keywords Natural Kinds, Reference, Descriptivism, Essentialism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13194-020-00344-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.

View all 62 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

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 Reference of Natural Kind Terms.Luis Fernández Moreno - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 53:35-39.
Natural Phenomenon Terms.Richard Gray - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):141–148.
Water has a Microstructural Essence After All.Carl Hoefer & Genoveva Martí - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):12.
Locke, Natural Kinds, and Essentialism.Judith Kathryn Crane - 1999 - Dissertation, Tulane University
How to Carve Nature Across the Joints Without Abandoning Kripke-Putnam Semantics.Helen Beebee - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 141-163.
The Metaphysics of Natural Kinds: An Essentialist Approach.Gbenga Fasiku - 2010 - Saarbrucken: Lambert Academic Publishing.
Are Natural Kind Terms Special?Åsa Wikforss - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge.
Reasonable Essentialism and Natural Kinds.Tim William E. Maudlin - 1986 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
On Deriving Essentialism From the Theory of Reference.Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2141-2151.
Natural Kinds: (Thick) Essentialism or Promiscuous Realism?Nigel Leary - 2007 - Philosophical Writings 34 (1):5 - 13.
Naming Natural Kinds.Åsa Maria Wikforss - 2005 - Synthese 145 (1):65-87.


Added to PP index

Total views
147 ( #80,931 of 2,520,967 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #46,397 of 2,520,967 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes