Volume 19, Issue 3, Septiembre 2004
A note on science and essentialism
This paper discusses recent attempts to use essentialist arguments based on the work of Kripke and Putnam to ground causal necessity in the world. I argue in particular that arecent argument by Alexander Bird relies on controversial intuitions about the natures of substances which no Humean would accept. While a case can be made that essentialism reflects some assumptions within scientific practice, the same can be said of Humeanism; ultimately neither Bird’s arguments, nor any empirical facts, can decide the question for or against Humeanism.