The Philosophical Limits of Scientific Essentialism
Bealer (George)
Source: Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 1, Metaphysics (1987), pp. 289-367
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    Scientific essentialism is the view that some necessities (e.g., water = H2O) can be known only with the aid of empirical science. The thesis of the paper is that scientific essentialism does not extend to the central questions of philosophy and that these questions can be answered a priori. The argument is that the evidence required for the defense of scientific essentialism (e.g., twin earth intuitions) is reliable only if the intuitions required by philosophy to answer its central questions is also reliable. Included is an outline of a modal1 reliabilist theory of basic evidence and a concept-possession account of the reliability of a priori intuition.

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