Rigid Designation and Theoretical Identities

Hardcover | January 6, 2013

byJoseph LaPorte

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Joseph LaPorte offers a new account of the connections between the reference of words for properties and kinds, and theoretical identity statements. Some terms for concrete objects, such as 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus', are rigid, and the rigidity of these terms is important because it helps todetermine whether certain statements containing them, including identity statements like 'Hesperus = Phosphorus', are necessary or contingent. These observations command broad agreement. But there has been much less agreement about whether and how designators for properties are rigid: terms like'white', 'brontosaur', 'beautiful', 'heat', 'H2O', 'pain', and so on. In Rigid Designation and Theoretical Identities, LaPorte articulates and defends the position that terms for properties are rigid designators. Furthermore, he argues that property designators' rigidity is put to good use inimportant philosophical arguments supporting and impugning certain theoretical identity statements. The book as a whole constitutes a broad defense of a tradition originating largely in seminal work from Saul Kripke, which affirms the truth and necessity of theoretical identities such as 'water = H2O', 'heat = the motion of molecules' and the like, and which looks skeptically upon psychophysicalidentities like 'pain = c-fiber firing'. LaPorte responds to detractors of the Kripkean tradition whose objections and challenges indicate where development and clarification is needed, as well as to sympathizers who have put forward important contributions toward such ends. Specific topicsdiscussed by way of defending the Kripkean tradition include conventionalism and empiricism, nominalism about properties, multiple realizability, supervenience, analytic functionalism, conceptual dualism and 'new wave' or a posteriori materialism, the explanatory gap, scientific essentialism (morebroadly: scientific necessitarianism), and vitalism.

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Joseph LaPorte offers a new account of the connections between the reference of words for properties and kinds, and theoretical identity statements. Some terms for concrete objects, such as 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus', are rigid, and the rigidity of these terms is important because it helps todetermine whether certain statements contai...

Joseph LaPorte is Professor of Philosophy at Hope College. He has published many articles in the philosophy of language, metaphysics and the philosophy of science, as well as Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change(CUP, 2004).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.8 inPublished:January 6, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199609209

ISBN - 13:9780199609208

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Table of Contents

1. Rigid Designators for Concrete Objects and for Properties2. On the Coherence of the Distinction3. On Whether the Distinction Assigns to Rigidity the Right Role4. A Uniform Treatment of Property Designators as Singular Terms5. Rigid Appliers6. Rigidity-Associated Arguments in Support of Theoretical Identity Statements: on their Significance and the Cost of their Philosophical Resources7. The Skeptical Argument Impugning Psychophysical Identity Statements: on its Significance and the Cost of its Philosophical Resources8. The Skeptical Argument Further Examined: on Resources, Allegedly Overlooked, for Confirming Psychophysical IdentitiesReferencesIndex