Abstract

In the talk we examine the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke-Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed – microessentialism – is untenable even in a “placeholder” version; and that the currently popular HPC theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent which fails to vindicate the Kripke-Putnam account. We also respond to some recent criticisms of our arguments, put forth by Genoveva Marti and Carl Hoefer.