Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Twin earth: is an expression from a thought experiment by H. Putnam (H. Putnam, The meaning of ‘meaning’, In Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2 Mind, Language and Reality, Cambridge, 1985). It is assumed that there is a second earth, which resembles our own in every detail, except for the composition of the substance water. However, the twin earth-water has phenomenologically the same properties as our water and is also called water there. The example should show that we cannot determine the reference of expressions independently of the environment. See also reference, externalism, internalism, anti-individualism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Excerpt Meta data

Books on Amazon
V 42 ff
Twin Earth/Mental State/Putnam: different reference but not significantly different mental state. - Thesis: Reference is not determined by individual mental states - but by the overall mental state of all members of a language community. - The reference does not change with each new discovery - discovery is no fixing of reference.
V 44
Twin Earth: Reference is formed by the use of the local objects. - Expert knowledge explains neither difference in meaning nor reference. E.g. a 3rd Twin Earth with even more extensively modified water but the same expert knowledge.
I 208
Twin Earth/Putnam: does not change our water. - It only shows that you cannot do concept analysis in an armchair.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Pu I
H. Putnam
Von einem Realistischen Standpunkt Frankfurt 1993

H. Putnam
Repräsentation und Realität Frankfurt 1999

H. Putnam
Für eine Erneuerung der Philosophie Stuttgart 1997

H. Putnam
Pragmatismus Eine offene Frage Frankfurt 1995

Pu V
H. Putnam
Vernunft, Wahrheit und Geschichte Frankfurt 1990

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-08-23