Essence, necessity, and definition

Philosophical Studies 176 (2):339-350 (2019)
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Abstract

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 with a further condition. In this paper I argue that this view is untenable in its current form. I then provide a glimmer of hope to those who think that essence is at least partially analyzable in terms of necessity.

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Author's Profile

Justin Zylstra
Last affiliation: University of Vermont

Citations of this work

Essential vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Modal Account of Essence.Michael De - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):17-32.
Essence, Triviality, and Fundamentality.Ashley Coates - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (5):502-516.
Modal Conceptions of Essence.Alessandro Torza - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.

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References found in this work

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.
Counterpart theory and quantified modal logic.David Lewis - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):113-126.

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