more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 11904

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 5. Reference to Natural Kinds]

Full Idea

Putnam implies dispensing with the designation of natural kinds by singular terms in favour of the postulation of necessary but a posteriori connections between predicates. ...We might call this 'predicate essentialism', but not 'de re essentialism'.

Gist of Idea

Express natural kinds as a posteriori predicate connections, not as singular terms


report of Hilary Putnam (Explanation and Reference [1973]) by Penelope Mackie - How Things Might Have Been 10.1

Book Reference

Mackie,Penelope: 'How Things Might Have Been' [OUP 2006], p.169

A Reaction

It is characteristic of modern discussion that the logical form of natural kind statements is held to be crucial, rather than an account of nature in any old ways that do the job. So do I prefer singular terms, or predicate-connections. Hm.