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By Helen Beebee, Nigel Sabbarton-Leary

Essentialism--roughly, the view that traditional varieties have discrete essences, producing truths which are valuable yet knowable just a posteriori--is an more and more renowned view within the metaphysics of technological know-how. even as, philosophers of language were subjecting Kripke’s perspectives concerning the life and scope of the mandatory a posteriori to rigorous research and feedback. Essentialists usually attract Kripkean semantics to encourage their radical extension of the world of the mandatory a posteriori; yet they not often try to offer any semantic arguments for this extension, or interact with the severe paintings being performed by means of philosophers of language. This assortment brings authors on either side jointly in a single quantity, therefore aiding the reader to work out the connections among perspectives in philosophy of language at the one hand and the metaphysics of technological know-how at the different. the result's a booklet that may have an important influence at the debate approximately essentialism, encouraging essentialists to have interaction with debates in regards to the semantic presuppositions that underpin their place, and, encouraging philosophers of language to interact with the metaphysical presuppositions enshrined in Kripkean semantics.

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Extra resources for The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds (Routledge Studies in Metaphysics)

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In particular, ‘tiger’ could have been introduced by just pointing at a tiger and ostensively defi ne the term ‘tiger’ by saying 40 Corine Besson ‘Here is a tiger’ or ‘A tiger is anything like this’. If a term could intuitively have been introduced in this way, we have a good explanation of why it is not descriptive, but directly referential. So dubbing so understood gives us a good explanation of why certain terms have the basic semantic properties that the do. It gives us a good theoretical reconstruction or metasemantic explanation of what is semantically distinctive about certain terms, such as natural kind terms.

This might be hidden from view at the time of the dubbing. These conditions on dubbing give us a good prima facie contrast between proper names and defi nite descriptions. For one thing, (Creativity) has no clear application to the latter, because defi nite descriptions are typically made up of expressions that are already in the language. So there is no real introduction or creation of such a description, but rather the putting together of expressions that have already been assigned a meaning.

The notion of dubbing as explained here also further enables us to draw a satisfactory contrast between natural kind terms and descriptive general terms. Like defi nite descriptions, descriptive general terms are typically made up of expressions already present in the language, so they are not as such introduced in the language. So (Creativity) typically does not apply. But also (Unicity) is not a condition on the use of descriptive general terms: descriptive general terms can be empty or pick out several kinds, or things.

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