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Conceptual Progress and Word/World Relations: In Search of the Essence of Natural Kinds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Paul M. Churchland*
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093 U.S.A.

Extract

The problem of natural kinds forms the busy crossroads where a number of larger problems meet: the problem of universals, the problem of induction and projectibility, the problem of natural laws and de re modalities, the problem of meaning and reference, the problem of intertheoretic reduction, the question of the aim of science, and the problem of scientific realism in general. Nor do these exhaust the list. Not surprisingly then, different writers confront a different ‘problem of natural kinds,’ depending on which background issue is for them the principal issue at stake. The issues of essentialism, meaning, and reference, for example, have tended to dominate recent discussions of natural kinds (Kripke [1972], Putnam [1975], [1981], Mellor [1977], Churchland [1979], Shapere [1982]). But evidently these are only part of the puzzle.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 1985

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References

Churchland, Paul M. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (New York: Cambridge University Press 1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fales, EvanNatural Kinds and Freaks of nature,’ Philosophy of Science, 49 1982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kripke, SaulNaming and Necessity,’ Semantics of Natural Language, Davidson, D. and Harman, G. eds. (Dordrecht-Holland: D. Reidel 1972)Google Scholar
D.H., MellorNatural Kinds,’ British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28 (1977)Google Scholar
Putnam, HilaryThe Meaning of “Meaning”,’ Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. VII, ed. Gunderson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 1975)Google Scholar
Putnam, Hilary Reason, Truth, and History (New York: Cambridge University Press 1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quine, W.V.O.Natural Kinds,’ Ontological Relativity and Other Essays (New York: Columbia University Press 1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dudley, ShapereReason, Reference, and the Quest for Knowledge,’ Philosophy of Science, 49 (1982)Google Scholar
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