, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp 399-410,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Nov 2010

Rigidity and actuality-dependence

Abstract

It is generally assumed that rigidity plays a key role in explaining the necessary a posteriori status of identity statements, both between proper names and between natural kind terms. However, while the notion of rigid designation is well defined for singular terms, there is no generally accepted definition of what it is for a general term to be rigid. In this paper I argue that the most common view, according to which rigid general terms are the ones which designate the same kind in all possible worlds, fails to deliver a posteriori necessities. I also present an alternative view, on which the work of explaining a posteriori necessities is not done by rigidity, but by a related metasemantic notion, which I call actuality-dependence.