more from Saul A. Kripke

Single Idea 9387

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity]

Full Idea

Scientific discoveries about what gold is are not contingent truths, but are necessary truths in the strictest possible sense. ..If scientists are right, then it will be necessary and not contingent that gold be an element with atomic number 79.

Gist of Idea

The scientific discovery (if correct) that gold has atomic number 79 is a necessary truth


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

Book Reference

Kripke,Saul: 'Naming and Necessity' [Blackwell 1980], p.125

A Reaction

I think this glorious and controversial claim is correct. It is hard to find supporting arguments, but the picture of nature that emerges (where the essences of the stuffs precede the laws of their behaviour) seems to me far more coherent.