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  1. Maitzen’s Objection From God’s Goodness.Philipp Kremers - forthcoming - Sophia:1-18.
    Stephen Maitzen argues that divine command metaethics must be mistaken because it is committed to the implausible assumption that the sentence ‘God is (morally) good’ is a tautology. In this article, I show that a charitable interpretation of R. M. Adams’ version of divine command metaethics is not committed to accept this assumption. I conclude that Maitzen’s objection merely manages to refute a strawman version of divine command metaethics.
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  • Nominalist Dispositional Essentialism.Lisa Vogt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    Dispositional Essentialism, as commonly conceived, consists in the claims that at least some of the fundamental properties essentially confer certain causal-nomological roles on their bearers, and that these properties give rise to the natural modalities. As such, the view is generally taken to be committed to a realist conception of properties as either universals or tropes, and to be thus incompatible with nominalism as understood in the strict sense. Pace this common assumption of the ontological import of Dispositional Essentialism, the (...)
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  • 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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  • Essential Properties Are Super-Explanatory: Taming Metaphysical Modality.Marion Godman, Antonella Mallozzi & David Papineau - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3):1-19.
    This paper aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research, the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involve super-explanatory properties, and that these properties are therefore metaphysically essential to natural kinds. Philosophers of science who work on kinds tend to emphasize their complexity, and are generally resistant to any suggestion that they have “essences”. The complexities are real enough, but they should not be allowed to obscure the way that kinds (...)
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  • On making a difference: towards a minimally non-trivial version of the identity of indiscernibles.David Wörner - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):4261-4278.
    The identity of indiscernibles states that indiscernible objects must be identical. Many philosophers have held that the PII turns out to be either true but trivial, or non-trivial but false, depending on how the notion of discernibility is spelled out. In this paper, I propose and defend an account of this notion which aims to yield a minimally non-trivial and yet plausible version of the PII. I argue moreover that this version of the principle is immune to a number of (...)
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  • Modality.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 348-360.
    A survey of the connection between grounding and modality, in particular supervenience. The survey explores three possible connections between grounding and supervenience: (1) supervenience can be analyzed in terms of grounding, (2) grounded facts supervene on their grounds, and (3) grounding and supervenience overlap in their theoretical roles.
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  • A Ground-Theoretical Modal Definition of Essence.Julio De Rizzo - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):32-41.
    I provide a case-by-case definition of essential truths based on the notions of metaphysical necessity and ontological dependence. Relying on suggestions in the literature, I adopt a definition of the latter notion in terms of the notion of ground. The resulting account is adequate in the sense that it is not subject to Kit Fine’s famous counterexamples to the purely modal account of essence. In addition, it provides us with a novel conception of truths pertaining to the essence of objects, (...)
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  • Inheriting Harmony.Claudio Calosi - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):23-32.
    Supersubstantivalism, the view that material objects are identical to their locations, has recently been defended in metaphysics and philosophy of physics. One of the most powerful arguments in its favour is the so-called argument from harmony. There is a certain harmony between material objects and their locations. Necessarily, if material object x is located at a spherical region, x is spherical. Necessarily, if material object x is located at region r, any part of x is located at a part of (...)
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  • Content Disjunctivism and the Perception of Appearances.Martin A. Lipman - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (18).
    Content disjunctivism is the view that veridical experience involves contents and objects that differ from those of corresponding hallucinations. On one formulation of this view, we are aware of ordinary material things in our surroundings when we experience veridically, and we are aware of mere appearances when we hallucinate. This paper proposes a way of developing this view and offers some considerations in support. Central to the proposed regimentation will be a distinction between different notions of appearance. We distinguish between (...)
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  • Engineering Existence?Lukas Skiba - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper investigates the connection between two recent trends in philosophy: higher-orderism and conceptual engineering. Higher-orderists use higher-order quantifiers (in particular quantifiers binding variables that occupy the syntactic positions of predicates) to express certain key metaphysical doctrines, such as the claim that there are properties. I argue that, on a natural construal, the higher-orderist approach involves an engineering project concerning, among others, the concept of existence. I distinguish between a modest construal of this project, on which it aims at engineering (...)
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  • In Defence of Hybrid Contingentism.Lukas Skiba - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22 (4):1-30.
    Hybrid contingentism combines first-order contingentism, the view that it is contingent what individuals there are, with higher-order necessitism, the view that it is non-contingent what properties and propositions there are (where these are conceived as entities in the range of appropriate higher-order quantifiers). This combination of views avoids the most delicate problems afflicting alternative contingentist positions while preserving the central contingentist claim that ordinary, concrete entities exist contingently. Despite these attractive features, hybrid contingentism is usually faced with rejection. The main (...)
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  • Higher-Order Metaphysics and the Tropes Versus Universals Dispute.Lukas Skiba - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2805-2827.
    Higher-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of higher-order rather than first-order quantifiers. They claim two types of advantages for this way of formulating property realism. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism versus transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved. Second, a further such debate, the tropes versus universals dispute, is taken to be resolved. In this paper I first argue that higher-order realism does not in (...)
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  • Definition.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper presents a puzzle about the logic of real definition. In particular, I demonstrate that five principles concerning definition (that it is coextensional and irreflexive, that it applies to its cases, that it permits expansion and that it is itself defined) are incompatible. I then explore the advantages and disadvantages of each principle—one of which must be rejected to restore consistency.
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  • A Simple Proof of Grounding Internality.Adam Lovett - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):154-166.
    Some people think that grounding is a type of identity. And some people think that grounding connections hold necessarily. I show that, under plausible assumptions, if grounding is a type of identity, then grounding connections hold necessarily.
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  • Constitutive and Consequentialist Essence.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):190-199.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Higher‐Order Metaphysics.Lukas Skiba - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):1-11.
    Subverting a once widely held Quinean paradigm, there is a growing consensus among philosophers of logic that higher-order quantifiers (which bind variables in the syntactic position of predicates and sentences) are a perfectly legitimate and useful instrument in the logico-philosophical toolbox, while neither being reducible to nor fully explicable in terms of first-order quantifiers (which bind variables in singular term position). This article discusses the impact of this quantificational paradigm shift on metaphysics, focussing on theories of properties, propositions, and identity, (...)
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  • Metaphysical Explanations for Modal Normativists.Theodore Locke - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):33-54.
    I expand modal normativism, a theory of metaphysical modality, to give a normativist account of metaphysical explanation. According to modal normativism, basic modal claims do not have a descriptive function, but instead have the normative function of enabling language users to express semantic rules that govern the use of ordinary non-modal vocabulary. However, a worry for modal normativism is that it doesn’t keep up with all of the important and interesting metaphysics we can do by giving and evaluating metaphysical explanations. (...)
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  • Metaphysical Grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    General discussion of grounding, including its formal features, relations to other notions, and applications. (Originally published 2014; revised 2021).
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  • A Note on the Wilhelmine Inconsistency.Jon Erling Litland - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):639-647.
    Wilhelm has recently shown that widely accepted principles about immediate ground are inconsistent with some principles of propositional identity. This note responds to this inconsistency by developing two ground-theoretic accounts of propositional individuation. On one account some of the grounding principles are incorrect; on the other account, the principles of propositional individuation are incorrect.
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  • On the necessity of essence.Gaétan Bovey - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    In the present inquiry, I defend the claim that the thesis that essence is the source of all necessity is compromised. I argue that, on pain of circularity, essentialists cannot successfully account for the necessity of essences. In response to the difficulties I raise, I discuss potential solutions on behalf of essentialists and explain why I find none of them compelling. My conclusion on the matter is that the best essentialists can hope for is a view where the necessity of (...)
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  • Metafísica para Juristas.Samuele Chilovi - 2022 - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía. Una Introducción para Juristas. Madrid: Trotta.
  • Physicalism and the Identity of Identity Theories.Samuel Z. Elgin - 2020 - Annalen der Philosophie 87 (1):161-180.
    It is often said that there are two varieties of identity theory. Type-identity theorists interpret physicalism as the claim that every property is identical to a physical property, while token-identity theorists interpret it as the claim that every particular is identical to a physical particular. The aim of this paper is to undermine the distinction between the two. Drawing on recent work connecting generalized identity to truth-maker semantics, I demonstrate that these interpretations are logically equivalent. I then argue that each (...)
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  • Problems for Propositions.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper consists of an investigation of three debates concerning propositional identity: the tension between structured propositions and higher-order logic, the principle Only Logical Circles, and Kaplan’s Paradox. The literature at large has mistaken the consequences of each of these debates. Structuralists are not committed to the claim that identical properties have different extensions; rather, they are committed to existence monism. Only Logical Circles does not preclude the identification of green in terms of grue; some further (and, as of yet, (...)
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  • From Essence to Necessity Via Identity.Jessica Leech - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):887-908.
    An essentialist theory of modality claims that the source of possibility and necessity lies in essence, where essence is then not to be defined in terms of necessity. Hence such theories owe us an account of why it is that the essences of things give rise to necessities in the way required. A new approach to understanding essence in terms of the notion of generalized identity promises to answer this challenge by appeal to the necessity of identity. I explore the (...)
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  • Asymmetry Cannot Solve the Circularity/Regress Problem of Property Structuralism.Ralf Busse - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10685-10720.
    Strong dispositional monism, the position that all fundamental physical properties consist in dispositional relations to other properties, is naturally construed as property structuralism. J. Lowe’s circularity/regress objection constitutes a serious challenge to SDM that questions the possibility of a purely relational determination of all property essences. The supervenience thesis of A. Bird’s graph-theoretic asymmetry reply to CRO can be rigorously proved. Yet the reply fails metaphysically, because it reveals neither a metaphysical determination of identities on a purely relational basis nor (...)
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  • Responsibility and Appropriate Blame: The No Difference View.Leonhard Menges - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):393-409.
    How do the fact that an agent is morally responsible for a certain morally objectionable action and the fact that she is an appropriate target of blame for it relate to each other? Many authors inspired by Peter Strawson say that they necessarily co‐occur. Standard answers to the question of why they co‐occur say that the occurrence of one of the facts explains that the other obtains. This article presents a third option: that they are one and the same fact. (...)
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  • Dispositionality, Categoricity, and Where to Find Them.Lorenzo Azzano - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2949-2976.
    Discussions about dispositional and categorical properties have become commonplace in metaphysics. Unfortunately, dispositionality and categoricity are disputed notions: usual characterizations are piecemeal and not widely applicable, thus threatening to make agreements and disagreements on the matter merely verbal—and also making it arduous to map a logical space of positions about dispositional and categorical properties in which all parties can comfortably fit. This paper offers a prescription for this important difficulty, or at least an inkling thereof. This will be achieved by (...)
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  • Physicalism and the Identity of Identity Theories.Samuel Elgin - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    It is often said that there are two varieties of identity theory. Type-identity theorists interpret physicalism as the claim that every property is identical to a physical property, while token-identity theorists interpret it as the claim that every particular is identical to a physical particular. The aim of this paper is to undermine the distinction between the two. Drawing on recent work connecting generalized identity to truth-maker semantics, I demonstrate that these interpretations are logically equivalent. I then argue that each (...)
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  • Formal Causes for Powers Theorists.Giacomo Giannini & Stephen Mumford - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 87-106.
    In this paper we examine whether and how powers ontologies can back formal causation. We attempt to answer three questions: i) what is formal causation; ii) whether we need formal causation, and iii) whether formal causation need powers and whether it can be grounded in powers. We take formal causal explanations to be explanations in which something's essence features prominently in the explanans. Three kinds of essential explanations are distinguished: constitutive, consequential, and those singling out something's propria. This last kind (...)
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  • Essence, Modality, and Intrinsicality.Gaétan Bovey - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7715-7737.
    Kit Fine famously objected against the idea that essence can be successfully analyzed in terms of de re necessity. In response, I want to explore a novel, interesting, but controversial modal account of essence in terms of intrinsicality and grounding. In the first section, I will single out two theoretical requirements that any essentialist theory should meet—the essentialist desideratum and the essentialist challenge—in order to clarify Fine’s objections. In the second section, I will assess Denby’s improved modal account, which appeals (...)
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  • Against the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Nathan Wildman - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-17.
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally (...)
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  • Explanatory Distance.Elanor Taylor - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    When a train operator tells us that our train will be late ‘because of delays’, their attempt at explanation fails because there is insufficient distance between the explanans and the explanandum. In this paper, I motivate and defend an account of ‘explanatory distance’, based on the idea that explanations give information about dependence. I show that this account offers useful resources for addressing problem cases, including recent debates about grounding explanation, and the historical case of Molière’s dormitive virtue.
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  • Essence, Modality and Identity.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Many metaphysicians maintain that there is a close connection between essence and modality; if an object a necessarily bears property F , then it is metaphysically necessary that Fa (or, perhaps, it is metaphysically necessary that Fa if a exists). Recently, Leech (Forthcoming) has argued that this connection lacks an adequate explanation. In particular, she argues that identity doesn't explain the link between essence and modality. In contrast, I argue that identity provides the resources to undermine Leech’s explanatory demand.
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  • A New Argument for the Groundedness of Grounding Facts.Fabrice Correia - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Many philosophers have recently been impressed by an argument to the effect that all grounding facts about “derivative entities”—e.g. the facts expressed by the true sentences ‘the fact that Beijing is a concrete entity is grounded in the fact that its parts are concrete’ and ‘the fact that there are cities is grounded in the fact that p’, where ‘p’ is a suitable sentence couched in the language of particle physics—must themselves be grounded. This argument relies on a principle, Purity, (...)
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  • Backing as Truthmaking.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):367–383.
    Separatists about grounding take explanations to be separate from their corresponding grounding-facts. Grounding-facts are supposed to underlie, or back, such explanations. However, the backing relation hasn’t received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide an informative definition of backing. First, I examine two prominent proposals: backing as explaining (Kovacs 2017; 2019a) and backing as grounding (see Sjölin Wirling 2020). Finally, I put forward my own proposal. I argue that under plausible assumptions about the role (...)
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  • Emergence Reinflated.Alexander Skiles - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):833-842.
    In ‘Collapsing Emergence’, Elanor Taylor argues that all accounts of emergence face a common problem: excluding ‘collapse-inducing’ features—features encoding information about macro-level phenomena—from the micro-level bases of putatively emergent phenomena in a metaphysically principled way. I argue that Taylor's solution to ‘the collapse problem’, which utilizes an explanation-based account of emergence she develops in recent work, does not succeed, as it relies on a false principle about the requirements for explanation. I then propose a better solution, one that presupposes no (...)
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  • The Semantic Foundations of Philosophical Analysis.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I provide an analysis of sentences of the form ‘To be F is to be G’ in terms of exact truth-maker semantics—an approach that identifies the meanings of sentences with the states of the world directly responsible for their truth-values. Roughly, I argue that these sentences hold just in case that which makes something F is that which makes it G. This approach is hyperintensional, and possesses desirable logical and modal features. These sentences are reflexive, transitive and symmetric, and, if (...)
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  • Essence and Cause: Making Something Be What It Is.Riin Sirkel - 2018 - Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):89-112.
    Aristotle frequently describes essence as a “cause” or “explanation”, thus ascribing to essence some sort of causal or explanatory role. This explanatory role is often explicated by scholars in terms of essence “making the thing be what it is” or “making it the very thing that it is”. I argue that this is problematic, at least on the assumption that “making” expresses an explanatory relation, since it violates certain formal features of explanation. I then consider whether Aristotle is vulnerable to (...)
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  • Identity and Aboutness.Benjamin Brast-McKie - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (6):1471-1503.
    This paper develops a theory of propositional identity which distinguishes necessarily equivalent propositions that differ in subject-matter. Rather than forming a Boolean lattice as in extensional and intensional semantic theories, the space of propositions forms a non-interlaced bilattice. After motivating a departure from tradition by way of a number of plausible principles for subject-matter, I will provide a Finean state semantics for a novel theory of propositions, presenting arguments against the convexity and nonvacuity constraints which Fine (2016, 2017a,b) introduces. I (...)
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  • Essence, Modality, and Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - forthcoming - Mind:fzab017.
    In a recent article forthcoming in *Mind*, Leech (2020) presents a challenge for essentialist accounts of metaphysical modality: why should it be that essences imply corresponding necessities? Leech’s main focus is to argue that one cannot overcome the challenge by utilizing an account of essence in terms of generalized identity due to Correia and Skiles (2019), on pain of circularity. In this reply, we will show how to use identity-based essentialism to bridge ‘epistemic’ and ‘explanatory’ understandings of this alleged essence-to-necessity (...)
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  • The Levels of the Empirical Sciences.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    It is the aim of this paper to develop and defend an interpretation of level of scientific discipline within the truth-maker framework. In particular, I exploit the mereological relation of proper parthood, which is integral to truth-maker semantics, in order to provide an account of scientific level.
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  • Social kinds are essentially mind-dependent.Rebecca Mason - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3975-3994.
    I defend a novel view of how social kinds (e.g., money, women, permanent residents) depend on our mental states. In particular, I argue that social kinds depend on our mental states in the following sense: it is essential to them that they exist (partially) because certain mental states exist. This analysis is meant to capture the very general way in which all social kinds depend on our mental states. However, my view is that particular social kinds also depend on our (...)
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  • Grounding, Essence, and Contingentism.Karol Lenart - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2157-2172.
    According to grounding necessitarianism if some facts ground another fact, then the obtaining of the former necessitates the latter. Proponents of grounding contingentism argue against this claim, stating that it is possible for the former facts to obtain without necessitating the latter. In this article I discuss a recent argument from restricted accidental generalisations provided by contingentists that advances such possibility. I argue that grounding necessitarianism can be defended against it. To achieve this aim, I postulate a relationship between grounding (...)
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  • New Powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2020 - Synthese (ST: New Foundations for Disposit):1-30.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  • Definition by Proxy.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I take some initial steps toward a theory of real definition, drawing upon recent developments in higher-order logic. The resulting account allows for extremely fine- grained distinctions (i.e., it can distinguish between any relata that differ in their syntactic structure, while avoiding the Russell-Myhill problem). It is the first account that can consistently embrace three desirable logical principles that initially appear to be incompatible: the Identification Hypothesis (if F is, by definition, G then F is the same as G), Irreflexivity (...)
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  • Essence, Potentiality, and Modality.Barbara Vetter - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):833-861.
    According to essentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the essences of things, where the essence of a thing is roughly akin to its real definition. According to potentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the potentialities of things, where a potentiality is roughly the generalized notion of a disposition. Essentialism and potentialism have much in common, but little has been written about their relation to each other. The aim of this paper is to understand better the relations between essence and potentiality, (...)
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  • The Logic of Ground.Adam Lovett - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (1):13-49.
    I explore the logic of ground. I first develop a logic of weak ground. This logic strengthens the logic of weak ground presented by Fine in his ‘Guide to Ground.’ This logic, I argue, generates many plausible principles which Fine’s system leaves out. I then derive from this a logic of strict ground. I argue that there is a strong abductive case for adopting this logic. It’s elegant, parsimonious and explanatorily powerful. Yet, so I suggest, adopting it has important consequences. (...)
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  • Making Semantics for Essence.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):859-876.
    ABSTRACTIn this paper, I develop a truthmaker semantics for essence and use the semantics to investigate the explanatory role of essence.
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  • Essential Truths and Their Truth-Grounds.Robert Michels - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:790-815.
    This paper motivates and defends a principle which captures a systematic connection between essence, truth, and grounding. It says that if a proposition expresses an essential truth, i.e., if it is true in virtue of the nature of some objects, then there are grounds for its truth which involve these objects. Together with the assumption that a fact can only be grounded in facts which are relevant to it, this principle is then applied in an argument against the monotonicity of (...)
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  • Collective Essence and Monotonicity.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1087-1101.
    This paper focuses on the concept of collective essence: that some truths are essential to many items taken together. For example, that it is essential to conjunction and negation that they are truth-functionally complete. The concept of collective essence is one of the main innovations of recent work on the theory of essence. In a sense, this innovation is natural, since we make all sorts of plural predications. It stands to reason that there should be a distinction between essential and (...)
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