more from Saul A. Kripke

Single Idea 17053

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 6. Necessity of Kinds]

Full Idea

Gold could turn out not to have atomic number 79. …But given that gold does have the atomic number 79, could something be gold without having the atomic number 79?

Gist of Idea

Gold's atomic number might not be 79, but if it is, could non-79 stuff be gold?


Saul A. Kripke (Naming and Necessity lectures [1970], Lecture 3)

Book Reference

Kripke,Saul: 'Naming and Necessity' [Blackwell 1980], p.123

A Reaction

The question seems to be 'is atomic number 79 essential to gold?', and on p.124 Kripke seems to say 'yes'. I agree. But how do we decide which features are essential to gold? Why do we think molten gold does count as gold?