A Note on the Essence of Natural Kinds

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI:
 A Note on the Essence of Natural Kinds

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In this, his first philosophical publication, McGinn introduces a distinction between epistemic possibility and metaphysical possibility, in order to diagnose the reason for Mackie's misinterpretation of Kripke's essentialism about natural kinds. McGinn then argues—on behalf of Kripke and pace Mackie—that the secondary qualities of natural kind substances (e.g. gold, water) are rigidly identical to the underlying primary qualities.

Keywords: essentialism; Kripke; Locke; Mackie; natural kinds; necessity; nominal essence; primary qualities; real essence; secondary qualities; substance

Chapter.  3768 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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