more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 14200

[catalogued under 18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth]

Full Idea

The word 'water' used on Twin Earth refers not to water but to this other liquid (XYZ). Yet there is no relevant difference in the mental state of Twin Earth speakers and speakers on Earth (in 1750) to account for this difference of reference.

Gist of Idea

'Water' on Twin Earth doesn't refer to water, but no mental difference can account for this


Hilary Putnam (Reason, Truth and History [1981], Ch.2)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Reason, Truth and History' [CUP 1998], p.23

A Reaction

In this world, if you and I separately meet twins, and I think about this twin while you think about that one, our mental states are different even if they are indistinguishable. I know I'm thinking about my twin, not yours. Indexicals.