Thomas Kuhn's Misunderstood Relation to Kripke-Putnam Essentialism

Rupert Read, Wes Sharrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Kuhn's ‘taxonomic conception’ of natural kinds enables him to defend and re-specify the notion of incommensurability against the idea that it is reference, not meaning/use, that is overwhelmingly important. Kuhn's ghost still lacks any reason to believe that referentialist essentialism undercuts his central arguments in SSR – and indeed, any reason to believe that such essentialism is even coherent, considered as a doctrine about anything remotely resembling our actual science. The actual relation of Kuhn to Kripke-Putnam essentialism, is as follows: Kuhn decisively undermines it – drawing upon the inadequacies of such essentialism when faced with the failure of attempts to instantiate in history or contemporaneously its ‘thought-experiment’ – and leaves the field open instead for his own more ‘realistic’, deflationary way of thinking about the operation of ‘natural kinds’ in science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal for General Philosophy of Science
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

Keywords

  • chemistry
  • essentialism
  • Kripke
  • Kuhn
  • natural kinds
  • Putnam
  • reference
  • twin-earth
  • water

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