Why Rigid Designation Cannot Stand on Scientific Ground

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Curiel, Erik
preprint description
I do not think the notion of rigidity in designation can be correct, at least not in any way that can serve to ground a semantics purports both to be fundamental in a semiotical sense and to the best science of the day. A careful examination of both content and the character of our best scientific knowledge not cannot support anything like what the notion of rigidity requires, but actually shows the notion to be, at bottom, incoherent. In particular, the scientific meaning of natural kind terms can be determined only within the context of a fixed scientific framework and not sub specie aeternitatis. Along the way, I provide grounds for the rejection of essentialist views of the ontology of natural kinds.