• Richard B
    In my previous post, I described an imagined community of language users remarking to someone defending Kripke’s view in the following:

    “The communities found this information interesting, and said to me “Thank you very much, I guess some water was not “H2O” but “D2O”. I try to correct them by saying “Obviously you are not aware of Mr. Kripke’s metaphysics, you should be calling one “water”, and the other “fool’s water” or, better yet, “heavy water”. “Oh no”, they said, “Let us correct you! We do not find any practical differences between this water and that water; therefore, maybe Mr. Kripke should come up with a better metaphysics that actually describes how we use our language.”
  • Harry Hindu
    We do not find any practical differences between this water and that water; therefore, maybe Mr. Kripke should come up with a better metaphysics that actually describes how we use our language.”Richard B
    What is a practical difference and how does that differ from some other type of difference? Would we be just talking about kinds of differences at that point?
  • Wayfarer
    In my previous post...Richard B

    Did you add the postscript to the original post after my entry about D2O? In any case, I missed it as I generally only read responses that are made later in the thread, not retrospective additions or changes to earlier posts. (If not, apologies.)
  • Richard B
    “Go get me a cup of water” He gets a cup, turns the faucet on, and fills the cup with water. He seems confused and says to me “which is the water and which is the cup”? I point to the liquid in the cup and say “that is water.”

    I ask someone “what does “H2O” refer to” and he goes over to a glass of water and points to the liquid. I say “No you misunderstood me, I mean all that elemental stuff” He looks at me puzzled and points at the liquid again.

    In both cases, “water” and “H2O” mean the same. They are the same concept used to refer to the same thing.

    What if you ask me “what does water refer to in general”? I am not sure how to respond to this. Maybe I will point at different things that have water.

    Maybe we can get help from the chemist and ask “Can you tell me what “H2O” refers to?” We don’t want him to go over to a bottle water. Would it help for the chemist to go to tank of hydrogen and oxygen, turn the tank on and listen to the gas coming out and say “hear that gas coming out, those are the elements that combine to give us “water”. Is that what we are referring to? Maybe the chemist injects some water into a elemental analysis instrument, analyzes the data and concludes it is “H2O”. Does “H2O” refer to all of this? Or maybe the better question is “what does all of this mean?” At this point, lets start talking about atomic theory, periodic table, physics, etc.
  • Richard B
    My Mom was named “Mary” from birth to death. Did we name one object here. If I took a picture of “Mary” when she was 1 day old, 20 years old, and 100 years old. These would look like different objects. What if I gave each object a different name. Would it not be reasonable to call these different objects by different names since they are so different? Is my mom three objects or three people? Does reference really matter here as long as no misunderstanding takes place.
  • Richard B
    The community drinks, takes a baths, and swims in each “water” even though there are minor boiling point differences, etc
  • Banno
    nothing is a necessary truthTerrapin Station

    I was going to comment here, but after this, well... what would be the point.
  • Wayfarer
    You could demonstrate once more that Terrapin’s arguments are all circular and self-refuting....but you’re right, what *would* be the point? ;-)
  • Richard B
    Although I do not know what is intended when one says “Nothing is necessary truth”

    Did not Quine suggest or say even logic could be revisable if our web of belief changes enough starting at the periphery of experience.
  • mcdoodle
    It's an odd thing that a glass of water is not entirely H2O. Most water, in glasses, lakes, taps/faucets, also 'contains' what we call, if pushed. 'impurities'. For some liquid to be only constituted of H2O we need to add 'pure' or 'distilled' in front of it. So I've always thought 'Water is H2O' to be mistaken as an example of anything necessary.

    When popular news features a visit to a comet by a probe, 'water' is usually a feature of what has been found: but this will often turn out to be D2O, see Wayfarer's comments above, or at least contain more deuterium than water on earth generally does when 'naturally' occurring.

    As for Kripke, this is part of an arcane post-Kantian game. But it might matter (only if Terrapin Station were wrong) to how we think about things.
  • Richard B
    What is interesting is even “purified” water is not 100%. And this is due to our limitations of purification and testing.

    Again, this shows the challenges of science trying to determine the true “nature of water”.

    Abstractly, we can talk about 100% H2O, but the world is a messy place, technologically we have limits, and human are fallible machines.

    Using the word “necessary” in this case seems very precarious.
Add a Comment