The modal view of essence

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266 (2013)
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Abstract

According to the modal view, essence admits of reductive analysis in exclusively modal terms. Fine (1994) argues that modal view delivers an inadequate analysis of essence. This paper defends the modal view from Fine's challenge. This defense proceeds by examining the disagreement between Finean primitivists and Quinean eliminativists about essence. In order to model this disagreement, a distinction between essence and a separable concept, nature, is required. This distinction is then used to show that Fine's challenge is misdirected and therefore unsuccessful.

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Sam Cowling
Denison University

Citations of this work

Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
Essence in abundance.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):100-112.
In defence of modal essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.

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