J. P. Smit
August 26, 2010
It is argued that natural kind terms are much closer to indexicals than is commonly realised. I start by examining Putnam's claim that natural kind terms might be indexical or ‘contain an indexical component’. This is a suggestion Putnam eventually dismisses, and it tends to be summarily dismissed by others. It is argued that such dismissals are based on reasoning that is clearly fallacious, and that a theory that treats natural kind terms as indexical can survive all these attacks. This view would, however, have to find an analogue to the public ‘linguistic meaning’ of indexicals. The subjective ‘concept’, or mental representation associated with the term by a speaker, will not do. I argue that there is a public ‘linguistic meaning’ associated with natural kind terms and that this linguistic meaning ultimately renders natural kind terms indexical in a deep sense.