Essence and modality

Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16 (1994)
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Abstract

It is my aim in this paper to show that the contemporary assimilation of essence to modality is fundamentally misguided and that, as a consequence, the corresponding conception of metaphysics should be given up. It is not my view that the modal account fails to capture anything which might reasonably be called a concept of essence. My point, rather, is that the notion of essence which is of central importance to the metaphysics of identity is not to be understood in modal terms or even to be regarded as extensionally equivalent to a modal notion. The one notion is, if I am right, a highly refined version of the other; it is like a sieve which performs a similar function but with a much finer mesh.

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Kit Fine
New York University

Citations of this work

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Christian Kment - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.

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