more from Gabriel M.A. Segal

Single Idea 3124

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

Full Idea

The question of what a pre-scientific term extends over is extremely difficult for a Putnam-style externalist to answer. …There seems no good reason to assume that they extend over natural kinds ('whale', 'cat', 'water').

Gist of Idea

Externalists can't assume old words refer to modern natural kinds


Gabriel M.A. Segal (A Slim Book about Narrow Content [2000], 5.1)

Book Reference

Segal,Gabriel M.A.: 'A Slim Book about Narrow Content' [MIT 2000], p.131

A Reaction

The assumption seems to be that they used to extend over descriptions, and now they extend over essences, or expert references. This can't be right. They have never changed, but now contain fewer errors.