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  1. The Deflationary Theory of Ontological Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):481-502.
    When an entity ontologically depends on another entity, the former ‘presupposes’ or ‘requires’ the latter in some metaphysical sense. This paper defends a novel view, Dependence Deflationism, according to which ontological dependence is what I call an aggregative cluster concept: a concept which can be understood, but not fully analysed, as a ‘weighted total’ of constructive and modal relations. The view has several benefits: it accounts for clear cases of ontological dependence as well as the source of disagreement in controversial (...)
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  • On How (Not) to Define Modality in Terms of Essence.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1015-1033.
    In his influential article ‘Essence and Modality’, Fine proposes a definition of necessity in terms of the primitive essentialist notion ‘true in virtue of the nature of’. Fine’s proposal is suggestive, but it admits of different interpretations, leaving it unsettled what the precise formulation of an Essentialist definition of necessity should be. In this paper, four different versions of the definition are discussed: a singular, a plural reading, and an existential variant of Fine’s original suggestion and an alternative version proposed (...)
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  • The Essences of Fundamental Properties.Jennifer Wang - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):40-54.
    There is a puzzle concerning the essences of fundamental entities that arises from considerations about essence, on one hand, and fundamentality, on the other. The Essence-Dependence Link (EDL) says that if x figures in the essence of y, then y is dependent upon x. EDL is prima facie plausible in many cases, especially those involving derivative entities. But consider the property negative charge. A negatively charged object exhibits certain behaviors that a positively charged object does not: it moves away from (...)
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  • Ontology, Mind and Free Will. A Workshop in Memory of E.J. Lowe.Matteo Grasso & Mattia Sorgon - 2014 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 5 (2):128-136.
    The single day conference “Ontology, Mind and Free Will. A Workshop in Memory of E.J. Lowe (1950-2014)” took place at the Department of Humanities of the University of Macerata on March, 3 rd 2014. It included as speakers Sophie Gibb (Durham University), Mario De Caro (Roma Tre University) and Michele Paolini Paoletti (University of Macerata). This event was thought by the organizers in order to honor the British philosopher Ethan Jonathan Lowe, who suddenly passed away last January with infinite regret (...)
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  • Constitutive Essence and Partial Grounding.Eileen S. Nutting, Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):137-161.
    Kit Fine and Gideon Rosen propose to define constitutive essence in terms of ground-theoretic notions and some form of consequential essence. But we think that the Fine–Rosen proposal is a mistake. On the Fine–Rosen proposal, constitutive essence ends up including properties that, on the central notion of essence, are necessary but not essential. This is because consequential essence is closed under logical consequence, and the ability of logical consequence to add properties to an object’s consequential essence outstrips the ability of (...)
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  • Belief Does Not Entail a Reasoning Disposition.Simon Wimmer - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14975-14991.
    Are there any dispositions one must have if one believes p? A widespread answer emphasizes the role of beliefs in reasoning and holds that if one believes p, one must be disposed to treat p as true in one’s reasoning. I argue that this answer is subject to counterexamples.
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  • Apriority and Essential Truth.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):1-8.
    There is a line of thought, neglected in recent philosophy, according to which a priori knowable truths such as those of logic and mathematics have their special epistemic status in virtue of a certain tight connection between their meaning and their truth. Historical associations notwithstanding, this view does not mandate any kind of problematic deflationism about meaning, modality or essence. On the contrary, we should be upfront about it being a highly debatable metaphysical idea, while nonetheless insisting that it be (...)
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  • Essence, Explanation, and Modality.Michael Wallner & Anand Vaidya - 2020 - Philosophy 95 (4):419-445.
    Recently, Kit Fine's view that modal truths are true in virtue of, grounded in, or explained by essentialist truths has been under attack. In what follows we offer two responses to the wave of criticism against his view. While the first response is pretty straightforward, the second is based on the distinction between, what we call, Reductive Finean Essentialism and Non-Reductive Finean Essentialism. Engaging the work of Bob Hale on Non-Reductive Finean Essentialism, we aim to show that the arguments against (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality.Antonella Mallozzi, Michael Wallner & Anand Vaidya - 2021 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • A Ground-Theoretical Modal Definition of Essence.Julio De Rizzo - forthcoming - Analysis.
    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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  • Essence and Explanation: A Logical Mismatch.Aaron Segal & Noga Gratvol - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (10):1038-1050.
    Let Essentialism be the view that at least some object has at least some property essentially. And let Relative Essentialism be the view that Essentialism is true, but that for any object that has any property essentially, it has it essentially only relative to the value of some parameter. Meghan Sullivan has recently put forward a promising new version of Relative Essentialism, according to which the relevant parameter is an explanatory framework. We argue that despite its promise, Sullivan's version unfortunately (...)
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  • Wildman’s Defense of Sparse Modalism and a Dilemma of Post-Finean Modalism.Jaeho Lee - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (5):531-547.
    Since K. Fine’s influential criticism of modalism, many philosophers have agreed that we cannot understand the concept of essence with that of modality. However, some philosophers have resisted this mainstream position. In this paper, I examine N. Wildman’s claim that, unlike other versions of modalism, his version of modalism, namely Sparse Modalism can save modalism. I will argue first that if we introduce the notion of grounding into this debates, Wildman’s criticisms of other versions are significantly undermined. Next, I will (...)
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  • Essence and Logical Properties.Hashem Morvarid - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2897-2917.
    Since Kit Fine presented his counter-examples to the standard versions of the modal view, many have been convinced that the standard versions of the modal view are not adequate. However, the scope of Fine's argument has not been fully appreciated. In this paper, I aim to carry Fine’s argument to its logical conclusion and argue that once we embrace the intuition underlying his counter-examples, we have to hold that properties obtained, totally or partially, by application of logical operations are not (...)
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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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  • Essence, Necessity, and Definition.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):339-350.
    What is it for something to be essential to an item? For some time, it was standard to think that the concept of necessity alone can provide an answer: for something to be essential to an item is for it to be strictly implied by the existence of that item. We now tend to think that this view fails because its analysans is insufficient for its analysandum. In response, some argue that we can supplement the analysis in terms of necessity (...)
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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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  • A Posteriori Anselmianism.Michael Almeida - 2017 - Topoi 36 (4):599-607.
    I argue that Anselmians ought to abandon traditional Anselmianism in favor of Moderate Anselmianism. Moderate Anselmianism advances the view that a being x = God iff for every essential property P of x, it is secondarily necessary that x has P, for most essential properties of x, it is not primarily necessary that x has P and the essential properties of x include omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness and necessary existence. Traditional Anselmians have no cogent response to most a priori atheological (...)
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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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  • Essence in Abundance.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):100-112.
    Fine is widely thought to have refuted the simple modal account of essence, which takes the essential properties of a thing to be those it cannot exist without exemplifying. Yet, a number of philosophers have suggested resuscitating the simple modal account by appealing to distinctions akin to the distinction Lewis draws between sparse and abundant properties, treating only those in the former class as candidates for essentiality. I argue that ‘sparse modalism’ succumbs to counterexamples similar to those originally posed by (...)
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  • Correct Conceivability and its Role in the Epistemology of Modality.Robert Michels - 2020 - Les Principes Métaphysiques.
    The starting point of this paper is an argument to the conclusion that the definition of metaphysical possibility in terms of correct conceivability, conceivability informed by knowledge of relevant essences, found in Rosen (2006) is equivalent to a version of the essentialist definition of metaphysical necessity. This argument appears to show that correct conceivability is a notion of conceivability by name only and is therefore of no interest to epistemologists of modality. In this paper, I present the equivalence argument, explain (...)
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  • Kit Fine on Modality.Asad Adnan - manuscript
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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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  • A Modal Account of Essence.Michael De - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):17-32.
    According to the simple modal account of essence, an object has a property essentially just in case it has it in every world in which it exists. As many have observed, the simple modal account is implausible for a number of reasons. This has led to various proposals for strengthening the account, for example, by adding a restriction to the intrinsic or sparse properties. I argue, however, that these amendments to the simple modal account themselves fail. Drawing on lessons from (...)
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  • On the Essence of Empty Properties.Miloš Kosterec - 2018 - Synthese (1):1-17.
    This paper deals with generalisations of modally based criteria for determining whether a given property is essential to an individual to the case of generic essences. These criteria usually presuppose extensionally individuated properties. The limitations of their generalisations are demonstrated using the case of the necessarily empty individual property and the necessarily empty individual office. I do not present a novel stance on the discussion of individual essences. The novelty of this paper lies in its claim that none of these (...)
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  • New Frontiers in Ground, Essence, and Modality: Introduction.Donnchadh O'conaill & Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 6):1219-1230.
    Ground, essence, and modality seem to have something to do with each other. Can we provide unified foundations for ground and essence, or should we treat each as primitives? Can modality be grounded in essence, or should essence be expressed in terms of modality? Does grounding entail necessitation? Are the notions of ground and essence univocal? This volume focuses on the links—or lack thereof—between these three notions, as well as the foundations of ground, essence, and modality more generally, bringing together (...)
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  • Is Self-Identity Essential to Objects?Nicola Spinelli - 2019 - Synthese (2):1-17.
    A common view is that self-identity is essential to objects if anything is. Itself a substantive metaphysical view, this is a position of some import in wider debates, particularly in connection with such problems as physicalism and personal identity. In this article I challenge the view. I distinguish between two accounts of essence, the modal and the definitional, and argue that self-identity is essential to objects on the former but not on the latter. After laying out my case, I deal (...)
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  • The New Aristotelian Essentialists.Harold W. Noonan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):87-93.
    In recent years largely due to the seminal work of Kit Fine and that of Jonathan Lowe there has been a resurgence of interest in the concept of essence and the project of explaining de re necessity in terms of it. Of course, Quine rejected what he called Aristotelian essentialism in his battle against quantified modal logic. But what he and Kripke debated was a notion of essence defined in terms of de re necessity. The new Aristotelian essentialists regard essence (...)
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  • In Defence of Modal Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
    Kit Fine’s arguments in Essence and Modality are widely accepted as being a decisive blow against modal essentialism. A selection of replies exist that have done little to counter the general view that modally construed essence is out of touch with what we really mean when we make essentialist claims. I argue that Fine’s arguments fail to strike a decisive blow, and I suggest a new interpretation of the debate that shows why Fine’s arguments fall short of achieving their goal.
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  • Essence and Mere Necessity.Jessica Leech - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:309-332.
    Recently, a debate has developed between those who claim that essence can be explained in terms of de re modality (modalists), and those who claim that de re modality can be explained in terms of essence (essentialists). The aim of this paper is to suggest that we should reassess. It is assumed that either necessity is to be accounted for in terms of essence, or that essence is to be accounted for in terms of necessity. I will argue that we (...)
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  • Essential Vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The distinction between essential versus accidental properties has been characterized in various ways, but it is currently most commonly understood in modal terms: an essential property of an object is a property that it must have, while an accidental property of an object is one that it happens to have but that it could lack. Let’s call this the basic modal characterization, where a modal characterization of a notion is one that explains the notion in terms of necessity/possibility. In the (...)
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  • Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a novel (...)
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  • Essence and Naturalness.Thiago Xavier de Melo - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):534-554.
    According to sparse modalism, the notion of essence can be analysed in terms of necessity and naturalness. In this paper, I develop and defend a version of sparse modalism that is equipped with a non-standard, relativized conception of naturalness. According to this conception, properties and relations can be natural to different degrees relative to different kinds of things, and relations can be natural to different degrees relative to different slots. I argue that this relativized version of sparse modalism can accommodate (...)
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  • Speaking of Essence.Alessandro Torza - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly:754-771.
    Classical modalism about essence is the view that essence can be analysed in modal terms. Despite Kit Fine's influential critique, no general refutation of classical modalism has yet been given. In the first part of the paper, I provide such a refutation by showing that the notion of essence cannot be analysed in terms of any sentential operator definable in the language of standard quantified modal logic. As a reaction to Fine's critique, some have defended sophisticated modalism, which attempts to (...)
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  • Ya Shouldn’Ta Couldn’Ta Wouldn’Ta.Stephen Steward - 2015 - Synthese 192 (6):1909-1921.
    In a recent issue of this journal, Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno presented a counterfactual theory of essence, designed to get around Kit Fine’s influential objections to the standard modal account of essence. I argue that Brogaard and Salerno’s theory does not avoid Fine’s objections. Then I propose a sequence of variations on their theory, and argue that none of them succeed either.
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