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Summary

Essentialism is, broadly speaking, the doctrine that objects have essential properties. One issue here concerns the analysis or definition of ‘essential’ - i.e., what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for being an essential property? Modalists define essential properties in terms of an entity’s de re modal properties. And, while popular, the major challenges modalism faces have led many to embrace non-modalist accounts, which define essence in terms of e.g., 'real definition' or metaphysical explanation/grounding. A second issue concerns the extension of essential properties. Debates here center around various forms of essentialism, typically distinguished by the types of properties in question (e.g. origin essentialism, concerning whether an entity’s origin is essential to it, sortal essentialism, about whether an entity essentially is an instance of the sortal it is an instance of, etc.). A third issue concerns how we know essence facts. Tight connections with modal epistemology here seem obvious, but, depending upon how we answer the above analysis question, it could turn out that essence epistemology is an entirely different beast. Finally, while we can inquire about the essences of particular instances of kinds (e.g. is Tigger essentially carnivorous?), we can also ask questions about the essences of kinds themselves (e.g. are tigers essentially carnivorous?), where the former concerns individual or objectual essence, the latter, general or generic essence; the exact relation between these two types of essence is yet to be determined.

Key works The place to start is Kripke 1980, which effectively re-introduced metaphysicians to essentialism; closely related is Putnam 1975. Regarding the analysis of essence, the most important piece is Fine 1994, where Fine offers his influential critique of the modalist analysis of essence. Highlighted modalist responses include  Gorman 2005, Zalta 2006, Correia 2007, and Wildman 2013, though also see Correia 2012 for a few tweaks to Fine’s position and Lowe 2008 for an alternative non-modalist account. Meanwhile, concerning extension, Mackie 2006 offers a wonderful and detailed over-view of the debates here, while Paul 2006 argues against ‘shallow’ (minimalist) essentialism. Finally, on epistemology, see the above Lowe, Tahko 2018, as well as the affiliated section on Modal Epistemology. 
Introductions Robertson & Atkins 2013 - An excellent introduction to the Essential/Accidental Property distinction, touches upon most of the major topics concerning essence; Roca-Royes 2011 - Another excellent introduction looking at the relation between essential properties and other types of properties.
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  1. Conceivability, Essence, and Haecceities.Timothy Bowen - manuscript
    This essay aims to redress the contention that epistemic possibility cannot be a guide to the principles of modal metaphysics. I introduce a novel epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics. I argue that the interaction between the two-dimensional framework and the mereological parthood relation, which is super-rigid, enables epistemic possibilities and truthmakers with regard to parthood to be a guide to its metaphysical profile. I specify, further, a two-dimensional formula encoding the relation between the epistemic possibility and verification of essential properties obtaining (...)
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  2. Generalized Identity, Zero-Ground, and Necessity.Yannic Kappes - manuscript
    This paper offers a modification of Fabrice Correia's and Alexander Skiles' ("Grounding, Essence, and Identity") definition of grounding in terms of generalized identity that extends it to zero-grounding. This definition promises to improve our understanding of zero-grounding by capturing it within the framework of generalized identity and allows an essentialist theory of modality based on Correia's and Skiles' account to resist a recent challenge by Jessica Leech. The latter is achieved by combining the following two ideas: (1) Some necessities are (...)
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  3. Transworld identity as a problem for essentialism about kinds.Kaave Lajevardi - manuscript
    Essentialism about natural kinds involves talking about kinds across possible worlds. I argue that there is a non-trivial transworld identity problem here, which cannot be (dis)solved in the same way that Kripke treats the corresponding transworld identity problem for individuals. -/- I will briefly discuss some ideas for a solution. The upshot is scepticism concerning natural-kind essentialism.
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  4. Striving (conatus).Valtteri Viljanen - manuscript
    The entry on striving (conatus) for the Cambridge Spinoza Lexicon, edited by Karolina Hübner and Justin Steinberg. This is the second (September 2022) draft; please do not quote, but comments are very welcome.
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  5. Essential Accident and the Four-Fold Problems.Nadia Maftooni - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 37.
    Essential accidents are among the complicated issues of the vast domain of philosophical-logical epistemology. In this paper, after a review of the meaning of the essential accident and its distinctive features from the viewpoint of philosophers such as Aristotle, Farabi, and Ibn-Sina, the writer poses the problems which are related to essential accidents. On the whole, two objections are advanced against the meaning of essential accidents and two more against its distinctive features.On of the conceptual problems is related to determining (...)
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  6. Value-based Essentialism: Essentialist Beliefs about Social Groups with Shared Values.April Bailey, Joshua Knobe & Newman George - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
    Psychological essentialism has played an important role in social psychology, informing influential theories of stereotyping and prejudice as well as questions about wrongdoers’ accountability and their ability to change. In the existing literature, essentialism is often tied to beliefs in shared biology—i.e., the extent to which members of a social group are seen as having the same underlying biological features. Here we investigate the possibility of “value-based essentialism” in which people think of certain social groups in terms of an underlying (...)
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  7. Teleological essentialism across development.Rose David, Sara Jaramillo, Shaun Nichols & Zachary Horne - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    Do young children have a teleological conception of the essence of natural kinds? We tested this by examining how the preservation or alteration of an animal’s purpose affected children’s persistence judgments (N = 40, ages 4 - 12, Mean Age = 7.04, 61% female). We found that even when surface-level features of an animal (e.g., a bee) were preserved, if the entity’s purpose changed (e.g., the bee now spins webs), children were more likely to categorize the entity as a member (...)
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  8. The essence of an immigrant identity: Children's pro-social responses to others based on perceived ability and desire to change.James Dunlea, Larisa Heiphetz & Redeate Wolle - forthcoming - In Kevin Patrick Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. New York, NY, USA:
    Much work has highlighted the degree to which children and adults view human characteristics as immutable. Less work has elucidated how people may conceptualize such immutability. Using immigration as an example domain, we examined the extent to which children’s (N=112 5- to 10-year-olds) immutability concepts reflected beliefs about others lacking the ability and/or the desire to change. Children readily agreed that immigrants could—and wanted to—change certain aspects of their identities (i.e., by adopting the norms of their new country). We also (...)
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  9. Grounding and Properties.August Faller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Metaphysical grounding is often presented as a relation of directed dependence analogous to causation. The relationship between causation, properties, and laws of nature is hotly debated. I ask: what is the relationship between grounding, properties, and laws of metaphysics? I begin by considering the grounding analogue of Humean quidditism. Finding it implausible, I turn to the primitive-laws account of grounding, recently defended by Jonathan Schaffer and others. I argue this view is also unsatisfactory. I then present several possible dispositionalist-like accounts (...)
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  10. Why 0-adic Relations Have Truth Conditions: Essence, Ground, and Non-Hylomorphic Russellian Propositions.Cody Gilmore - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman & Adam Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. London: Routledge.
    I formulate an account, in terms of essence and ground, that explains why atomic Russellian propositions have the truth conditions they do. The key ideas are that (i) atomic propositions are just 0-adic relations, (ii) truth is just the 1-adic version of the instantiation (or, as I will say, holding) relation (Menzel 1993: 86, note 27), and (iii) atomic propositions have the truth conditions they do for basically the same reasons that partially plugged relations, like being an x and a (...)
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  11. How It All Depends: A Contemporary Reconstruction of Huayan Buddhism.Li Kang - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Chinese Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Few would deny that something ontologically depends on something else. Given that something depends on something, what depends on what? Huayan Buddhism 華嚴宗, a prominent Chinese Buddhist school, is known for its extensive thesis of interdependence, according to which everything depends on everything else. This intriguing thesis is entangled with seemingly paradoxical claims that everything is not only identified with everything else but also contained within it. Moreover, the radical thesis of interdependence entails that dependence is pervasive and symmetric. In (...)
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  12. Ontologiset Kategoriateoriat.Markku Keinänen & Jani Hakkarainen - forthcoming - Ensyklopedia Logos.
    Ontologiset kategoriateoriat pyrkivät vastaamaan metafysiikan klassiseen ongelmaan: kysymykseen siitä, mihin eri kategorioihin oliot eli entiteetit jakaantuvat. Olioilla tarkoitetaan tässä mitä tahansa, joka on olemassa. Olevan kategoriat eli ontologiset kategoriat (lyhyesti kategoriat) ovat alustavasti olioiden hyvin yleisiä lajeja. Jäsenyys olioiden kategoriassa ei niinkään kerro sitä, mitä piirteitä oliolla on, vaan sen olemisen tavan ¬– miten se esimerkiksi on tai voi olla maailman rakenneosa. Esimerkkejä mahdollisista kategorioista ovat konkreettiset partikulaariset yksilöoliot (substanssit), ominaisuudet, relaatiot, prosessit, tapahtumat ja joukot. -/- 1. Mitä ovat ontologiset (...)
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  13. Modality and Essence in Contemporary Metaphysics.Kathrin Koslicki - forthcoming - In Yitzhak Melamed & Samuel Newlands (eds.), Modality: A Conceptual History. Oxford, UK:
    Essentialists hold that at least a certain range of entities can be meaningfully said to have natures, essences, or essential features independently of how these entities are described, conceptualized or otherwise placed with respect to our specifically human interests, purposes or activities. Modalists about essence, on the one hand, take the position that the essential truths are a subset of the necessary truths and the essential properties of entities are included among their necessary properties. Non-modalists about essence, on the other (...)
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  14. Semantic Rules, Modal Knowledge, and Analyticity.Antonella Mallozzi - forthcoming - In Dusko Prelevic & Anand Vaidya (eds.), The Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology.
    According to Amie Thomasson's Modal Normativism (MN), knowledge of metaphysical modality is to be explained in terms of a speaker’s mastery of semantic rules, as opposed to one’s epistemic grasp of independent modal facts. In this chapter, I outline (MN)'s account of modal knowledge (§1) and argue that more than semantic mastery is needed for knowledge of metaphysical modality. Specifically (§2), in reasoning aimed at gaining such knowledge, a competent speaker needs to further deploy essentialist principles and information. In response, (...)
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  15. The Epistemology of Essence.Antonella Mallozzi - forthcoming - In Michael J. Raven & Kathrin Koslicki (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence. Routledge.
    The chapter discusses the issue of how we may achieve knowledge of essence. It offers a critical survey of the main theories of knowledge of essence that have been proposed within contemporary debates, particularly by Lowe, Hale, Oderberg, Elder, and Kment.
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  16. Contemporary (Analytic Tradition).Robert Michels - forthcoming - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
    This paper provides an overview of the history of the notion of essence in 20th century analytic philosophy, focusing on views held by influential analytic philosophers who discussed, or relied on essence or cognate notions in their works. It in particular covers Russell and Moore’s different approaches to essence before and after breaking with British idealism, the (pre- and post-)logical positivists’ critique of metaphysics and rejection of essence (Wittgenstein, Carnap, Schlick, Stebbing), the tendency to loosen the notion of logical necessity (...)
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  17. Nothing Explains Essence.Taylor-Grey Miller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Essentialist facts, facts about what is essential to what, are explanatorily distinctive. They can often be appealed to in the course of metaphysically explaining some fact, while themselves serving as explanatory ends. In other words, when one arrives in the course of an explanation at an essentialist fact, it often seems like a legitimate place to stop. In certain contexts, they seem to provide a metaphysical backstop to making further explanatory demands. This paper defends the view that essentialist facts are (...)
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  18. Plato’s Essentialism: Reinterpreting the Theory of Forms, by Vasilis Politis.Federico M. Petrucci - forthcoming - Mind.
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  19. La influencia del esencialismo de Kit Fine.Carlos Romero - forthcoming - In Esencia y Modalidad, de Kit Fine. Ciudad de México: UNAM.
    Ensayo introductorio para mi traducción del influyente artículo "Essence and Modality" de Kit Fine.
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  20. On Explaining Necessity by the Essence of Essence.Carlos Romero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    There has been much debate recently on the question whether essence can explain modality. Here, I examine two routes to an essentialist account of modality. The first is Hale's argument for the necessity of essence, which I will argue is — notwithstanding recent attempted defences of it — invalid by its very structure. The second is the proposal that it is essential to essential truth that it is necessary. After offering three possible versions of the view, I will argue that (...)
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  21. Sex and Gender.Esther Rosario - forthcoming - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy.
    This chapter surveys essentialist and anti-essentialist theories of sex and gender. It does so by engaging three approaches to sex and gender: externalism, internalism, and contextualism. The chapter also draws attention to two key debates about sex and gender in the feminist literature: the debate about the sex/gender distinction (the distinction debate) and the debate about whether sex and gender have essences (the essentialism/anti-essentialism debate). In addition, it describes three problems that theories of sex and gender tend to face: the (...)
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  22. Mentalizing Objects.David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4.
    We have a mentalistic view of objects. This is due to the interdependence of folk psychology and folk physics, where these are interconnected by what I call Teleological Commingling. When considering events that don’t involve agents, we naturally default to tracking intentions, goal-directed processes, despite the fact that agents aren’t involved. We have a deep-seated intentionality bias which is the result of the pervasive detection of agency cues, such as order or non-randomness. And this gives rise to the Agentive Worldview: (...)
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  23. Opaque Grounding and Grounding Reductionism.Henrik Rydéhn - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-27.
    This article aims to contribute to the largely neglected issue of whether metaphysical grounding – the relation of one fact’s obtaining in virtue of the obtaining of some other (or others) – can be given a reductive account. I introduce the notion of metaphysically opaque grounding, a form of grounding which constitutes a less metaphysically intimate connection than in standard cases. I then argue that certain important and interesting views in metaphysics are committed to there being cases of opaque grounding (...)
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  24. Relevance as difference-making: a generalized theory of relevance and its applications.Gerhard Schurz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-38.
    In this paper a generalized account of relevance as difference-making is developed. It is argued that relevance should not be considered as a particular relation, but as a (higher-order) property of instances of arbitrary relations: namely the property that variations of the relata of the relation instance make a difference for its truth. This generalized account of relevance can be fruitfully applied in many domains, such as (i) logical reasoning with applications to explanation, confirmation, verisimilitude, is-ought inference, (ii) probabilistic reasoning (...)
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  25. Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws: a deflationary account.Alan Sidelle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Two related claims have lately garnered currency: dispositional essentialism—the view that some or all properties, or some or all fundamental properties, are essentially dispositional; and the claim that laws of nature (or again, many or the fundamental ones) are metaphysically necessary. I have argued elsewhere (On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002) that the laws of nature do not have a mind-independent metaphysical necessity, but recent developments on dispositions have given these ideas a new (...)
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  26. Modal Conceptions of Essence.Alessandro Torza - forthcoming - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
    Philosophers distinguish between having a property essentially and having it accidentally. The way the distinction has been drawn suggests that it is modal in character, and so that it can be captured in terms of necessity, or cognate notions. The present chapter takes the suggestion at face value by considering a number of modal characterizations of the essential/accidental distinction that have been articulated and discussed since the early 20th century, as well as some of the challenges that they face.
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  27. Two problems for Zylstra's truthmaker semantics for essence.Lisa Vogt - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In his article ‘Making semantics for essence’ (Inquiry, 2019), Justin Zylstra proposed a truthmaker semantics for essence and used it to evaluate principles regarding the explanatory role of essence. The aim of this article is to show that Zylstra's semantics has implausible implications and thus cannot adequately capture essence.
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  28. About Haecceity: An Essay in Ontology.Matthew Davidson - 2024 - London: Routledge.
    This book offers an in-depth and updated examination of the nature of haecceity—that primitive entity which explains why something is distinct from other things. -/- The book begins by exploring different conceptions of haecceity throughout history. The discussion of various figures across history is important for getting clear on the nature of haecceity and its role in individuation. The next part of the book examines different views about the nature of haecceity. The author defends a view on which haecceities have (...)
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  29. The once and always possible.Kory Matteoli - 2024 - Synthese 203 (28):1-32.
    In Death and Nonexistence, Palle Yourgrau defends what he calls the principle of Prior Possibility: nothing comes to exist unless it was previously possible that it exists. While this seems like a plausible principle, it’s not strong enough; it allows the impossible to come to exist. I argue for a stronger principle: nothing exists unless its existence has always been possible. Further, I argue that we then have reason to accept a surprising result: nothing exists unless its existence is always (...)
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  30. A defense of placeholder essentialism.Safia Bano - 2023 - Foundations of Chemistry 25 (3):393-404.
    Kripke-Putnam argument for natural kind essentialism can be said to depend on placeholder essentialist intuitions. But some argue that such philosophical intuitions are merely preschooler cognitive biases which are not supported by scientific knowledge of natural kinds. Chemical substances, for instance, whether elements or compounds do not have such privileged set of underlying properties (‘same substance’ relation) which are present in all members of the kind and which provide necessary and sufficient condition for kind membership. In this paper, I argue (...)
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  31. Plenitude, Coincidence, and Humility.Maegan Fairchild - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):59-77.
    Fairchild (2019) advertised the humility of material plenitude, arguing that despite the profligate ontology of coincident objects it entails, the best version of plenitude is one that takes no stand on a range of nearby questions about modality and coincidence. Roughly, the thought is that plenitude says only that there are coincident objects corresponding to every consistent pattern of essential and accidental properties. Plenitude says (or should say) nothing about which patterns those might be, and so should be compatible with (...)
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  32. Leibniz's Causal Road to Existential Independence.Tobias Flattery - 2023 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 1:1-28.
    Leibniz thinks that every created substance is causally active, and yet causally independent of every other: none can cause changes in any but itself. This is not controversial. But Leibniz also thinks that every created substance is existentially independent of every other: it is metaphysically possible for any to exist with or without any other. This is controversial. I argue that, given a mainstream reading of Leibniz’s essentialism, if one accepts the former, uncontroversial interpretation concerning causal independence, then one ought (...)
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  33. Definitions in economics: farewell to essentialism.Cristian Frasser & Gabriel Guzmán - 2023 - Journal of Economic Methodology 30 (3):228-244.
    There is an essentialist view that requires one to specify the set of necessary and sufficient properties of the things that exist when establishing definitions. The endorsement of essentialism for definitions in economics has been largely motivated by the Taxonomic Tower of Babel (TTB), which encompasses two intellectual fears. The fear of scientific aphasia is the fear that scientific progress is hampered because economists do not agree on the definitions they use. The fear of nihilism refers to the fear of (...)
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  34. Engaging Kripke with Wittgenstein: The Standard Meter, Contingent Apriori, and Beyond.Martin Gustafsson, Oskari Kuusela & Jakub Mácha (eds.) - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume draws connections between Wittgenstein's philosophy and the work of Saul Kripke, especially his Naming and Necessity. Saul Kripke is regarded as one of the foremost representatives of contemporary analytic philosophy. His most important contributions include the strict distinction between metaphysical and epistemological questions, the introduction of the notions of contingent a priori truth and necessary a posteriori truth and original accounts of names, descriptions, identity, necessity and realism. The chapters in this book elucidate the relevant connections between Kripke's (...)
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  35. Formal Ontology.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Formal ontology as a main branch of metaphysics investigates categories of being. In the formal ontological approach to metaphysics, these ontological categories are analysed by ontological forms. This analysis, which we illustrate by some category systems, provides a tool to assess the clarity, exactness and intelligibility of different category systems or formal ontologies. We discuss critically different accounts of ontological form in the literature. Of ontological form, we propose a character- neutral relational account. In this metatheory, ontological forms of entities (...)
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  36. Humean Reductionism about Essence.Ned Hall - 2023 - In Michael Townsen Hicks, Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 258-286.
    In the metaphysics of laws of nature, one fundamental philosophical question is whether we should give a metaphysical or rather an epistemic account of what they are; that is the core issue that divides ‘Humeans’ from ‘anti-Humeans’. In much the same way, a key question we face with essences is whether to give a metaphysical or rather an epistemic account of what they are. (So note well: in choosing to deploy the term ‘essence’ this chapter is not taking sides on (...)
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  37. “Emotion and the Ethical A Priori”.Tanner Hammond - 2023 - Phänomenologische Forschungen.
  38. Gender Essentialisms.John Horden & Dan López de Sa - 2023 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 9 (2).
    Charlotte Witt has argued that gender is essential to women and men, in a way that unifies them as social individuals but precludes each of them from being identified with the corresponding person or human organism. We respond to Witt’s modal and normative arguments for this view, and we argue that they fail to support anything stronger than a moderate version of kind essentialism, which generally allows women and men to be identified with people. We finish by pointing out that (...)
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  39. The Fragility of Philosophy of Medicine: Essentialism, Wittgenstein and Family Resemblances.Lucien Karhausen - 2023 - Springer Verlag.
    This book about philosophy of medicine bestows a bottom-up and not a top-down approach. It starts from clinical medicine and epidemiology, analyzing their interrelations with philosophical instruments. The book criticizes the constant search for generalities and the essentialism that too often characterizes this discipline, which results in philosophers of medicine dialoguing with each other without direct contact with medical science. In the light of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy, this book proposes an approach to the philosophy of medicine based on the quorum (...)
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  40. Is Identity Essentialism a Fundamental Feature of Human Cognition?Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola, Hyundeuk Cheon, Irma T. Kurniawan, Carlos Mauro, Noel Struchiner & Harry Susianto - 2023 - Cognitive Science 47 (5):e13292.
    The present research examines whether identity essentialism, an important component of psychological essentialism, is a fundamental feature of human cognition. Across three studies (Ntotal = 1723), we report evidence that essentialist intuitions about the identity of kinds are culturally dependent, demographically variable, and easily malleable. The first study considered essentialist intuitions in 10 different countries spread across four continents. Participants were presented with two scenarios meant to elicit essentialist intuitions. Their answers suggest that essentialist intuitions vary dramatically across cultures. Furthermore, (...)
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  41. What Is Absolute Modality?Antonella Mallozzi - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Talk of metaphysical modality as “absolute” is ambiguous, as it appears to convey multiple ideas. Metaphysical possibility is supposedly completely unrestricted or unqualified; metaphysical necessity is unconditional and exceptionless. Moreover, metaphysical modality is thought to be absolute in the sense that it’s real or genuine and the most objective modality: metaphysical possibility and necessity capture ways things could and must have really been. As we disentangle these ideas, certain talk of metaphysical modality qua “absolute” turns out to be misguided. Metaphysical (...)
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  42. Understanding a Thing's Nature: Comparing Afro-Relational and Western-Individualist Ontologies (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2023 - In Peter Aloysius Ikhane & Isaac E. Ukpokolo (eds.), African Epistemology: Essays on Being and Knowledge. Routledge. pp. 63-78.
    Slightly modified reprint of an article first appearing in the journal _Synthesis Philosophica_ (2018).
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  43. Why Mereological Essentialism Applies to Mereological Aggregates.James Porter Moreland - 2023 - Metaphysica 24 (2):339-357.
    This article’s purpose is to defend the depiction of ordinary-sized physical objects as mereological aggregates (MAs), to clarify what the ontology of an MA is, and to show why mereological essentialism (ME) applies to MAs that seem to be ubiquitous if we are to adopt what Frank Jackson calls “Serious Metaphysics” and refuse to broaden our ontology beyond what is (allegedly) bequeathed to us by physics and chemistry. To accomplish this goal, first, I clarify certain background issues that inform what (...)
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  44. A Modal Contextualist Account of Essentialist Claims as a Response to Kit Fine.Cristina Nencha - 2023 - Metaphysica (2):243-257.
    Kit Fine advanced a remarkable objection to the Modal Account of Essentialism. Fine’s concern is commonly thought to have put the modal account in serious jeopardy. I believe that Fine’s objection is mainly based on two intuitions. As a reaction to Fine’s argument, while many scholars have abandoned the modal account, others have attempted to save it. The main strategy in the last direction consists in adding to the modal criterion a condition that is supposed to hold universally. For different (...)
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  45. Kant's regulative essentialism and the unknowability of real essences.Hoffer Noam - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):887-901.
    In his lectures on Logic and Metaphysics, Kant distinguishes between logical and real essences. While the former is related to concepts and is knowable, the latter is related to things and is unknowable. In this paper, I argue that the unknowability is explained by the modal characteristic of real essences as a necessitating ground on which a priori knowledge is impossible. I also show how this claim is related to the unknowable necessity of particular laws of nature. Since laws of (...)
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  46. Living Gendered Identities: Beyond Essentialism and Constructivism Towards Embodied Relationality.Mollie Painter - 2023 - In Mollie Painter & Patricia H. Werhane (eds.), Leadership, Gender, and Organization. Springer Verlag. pp. 19-35.
    In this chapter, the embodied and institutionalized roots of gender discrimination in the workplace are explored. The chapter draws on a variety of feminist perspectives to discuss the implications that various approaches to gender differences have for thinking about leadership in organizational contexts. It comes to the conclusion that combining insight into the embodied practices of the lived body with an understanding of gender as a socially-constructed notion may yield the best possible model for thinking about gender within institutions. The (...)
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  47. How Things Have to Be.Nathan Salmon - 2023 - In Duško Prelević & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology. New York: Routledge. pp. 128-149.
    Penelope Mackie and Scott Soames argue, contrary to my Reference and Essence (R&E), that Hilary Putnam was correct that the direct-reference theory of natural-kind terms, taken in conjunction with empirical or otherwise uncontroversial premises, yields non-trivial essentialism, such as the conclusion that water is essentially two-parts hydrogen, one-part oxygen. A controversial distinction is drawn between rigid and non-rigid general terms. A new criterion for general-term rigidity is proposed, and Putnam’s ostensive definition of ‘water’ is reformulated accordingly to generate the consequence (...)
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  48. Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3583-3603.
    This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is (...)
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  49. Essentialist Arguments for Discernibility are Unsound.Antoine Taillard - 2023 - Acta Analytica 39 (1):57-77.
    It is common to argue that something x is distinct from something y by pointing out that x and y do not share all their essential properties. I show that arguments of this type are unsound. This unsoundness is rooted in the fact that sentences of the form ‘x is essentially F’ are ambiguous. Under one reading, the sentence says of x that it has a property of a unique and special kind. Interpreted in that way, the sentence is false, (...)
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  50. In Search of a Structurally Complete Epistemology of Essence.Michael Wallner - 2023 - In Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Dusko Prelevic (eds.), The Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology. New York, London: Routledge. pp. 150-175.
    A very influential idea in the epistemology of modality is that we acquire knowledge of metaphysical modality through knowledge of essence. As a consequence, the epistemology of essence becomes crucial in the attempt to answer the question of how we come to know modal propositions. In this paper I investigate Lowe’s and Hale’s approach to the epistemology of essence and argue that both of them remain in a crucial, structural sense incomplete. Systematizing this criticism against Lowe and Hale, I then (...)
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