more from Nathan Salmon

Single Idea 18891

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

Full Idea

There seems to be nothing in the theory of direct reference to block the anti-essentialist assertion that the substance water might have been the very same entity and yet have had a different chemical structure.

Gist of Idea

Nothing in the direct theory of reference blocks anti-essentialism; water structure might have been different


Nathan Salmon (Reference and Essence (1st edn) [1981], 6.23.1)

Book Reference

Salmon,Nathan: 'Reference and Essence (2nd ed)' [Prometheus 2005], p.186

A Reaction

Indeed, water could be continuously changing its inner structure, while retaining the surface appearance that gets baptised as 'water'. We make the reasonable empirical assumption, though, that structure-change implies surface-change.