Reference Magnetism Beyond the Predicate: Two Putnam-Style Results

Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Many accept David Lewis's (1983) claim that, among the candidate meanings for our predicates, some are more natural than others -- they do better or worse at ``carving nature at its joints''. Call this claim predicate naturalism. Disagreement remains over whether the notion of naturalness extends ``beyond the predicate'' (à la Sider, 2011). Are the candidate meanings of logical vocabulary also more or less natural? Call this claim logical naturalism. One motivation for predicate naturalism comes from its supposed ability to help rebut various radical indeterminacy arguments associated with Hilary Putnam (1977, 1980, 1981). It does so in combination with a popular meta-semantic theory called reference magnetism. I argue that the same threats of Putnam-style radical indeterminacy rearise for proponents of predicate naturalism -- threats which logical naturalism helps rebuts. So, if we accept predicate naturalism because it helps fend off threats of indeterminacy, we should also accept logical naturalism.

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Rohan Sud
Virginia Tech


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