The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy

Routledge (2024)
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Abstract

Essences have been assigned important but controversial explanatory roles in philosophical, scientific, and social theorizing. Is it possible for the same organism to be first a caterpillar and then a butterfly? Is it impossible for a human being to transform into an insect like Gregor Samsa does in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis? Is it impossible for Lot’s wife to survive being turned into a pillar of salt? Traditionally, essences (or natures) have been thought to help answer such central questions about existence, identity, persistence, and modality. These questions are not only of great philosophical interest, they also are of great interest to society at large. This Handbook surveys the state of the art on essence. Core issues about essence are discussed in 33 chapters, all of them written exclusively for this volume by leading experts.

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Author Profiles

Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel
Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria

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