Rigidity and triviality
Though it is often claimed that some general terms are rigid designators, it has turned out to be difficult to give a satisfying definition that (1) avoids making all general terms rigid (the overgeneralization problem), and (2) even if a non-rigid reading is available, makes that non-rigid reading matter (the trivialization problem). Several authors have attempted to develop examples that meet the trivialization challenge, with Martí and Martínez-Fernández providing what is, perhaps, the most convincing strategy. I show that the type of example Martí and Martínez-Fernández offer nevertheless fails to meet the trivialization challenge and, accordingly, that we should still have serious doubts about whether continuing the search for a non-trivial definition of general term rigidity would be fruitful.
KeywordsGeneral terms Rigidity Natural kinds Trivialization problem
I am grateful to Ka Ho Lam and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
The research behind this article was made possible in part through a grant from the SASPRO Mobility Programme of the Slovak Academy of Sciences [Grant Number 0086/01/03/-b].
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