Empty natural kind terms and dry earth

Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425 (2012)
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This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them meanings. The paper ends on a sceptical note concerning the fruitfulness of using the Twin-Earth setting in debates about the semantics of empty natural kind terms.

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Corine Besson
University of Sussex


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