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Summary The interplay of essentialism and modal logic is a major topic in the logic and metaphysics of modality. Quine 1953 argued that quantified modal logic (QML) entails essentialism, the view that an object can have a property essentially, independently of how it is referred to. Since he found essentialism to be unintelligible, Quine concluded by modus tollens that QML should be rejected. Kripke 1963 and Marcus 1967 have contributed to the rehabilitation of QML by showing how it can be made sense of within a suitable semantic framework. Others, such as Parsons 1969 and McKay 1975, have argued that QML is not committed to the thesis of essentialism in the way Quine thought. Now that the intelligibility of QML is no longer at issue, a central problem in the contemporary debate is whether the notion of essence can be understood in modal terms. A classical modalist analysis of essence is due to Moore 1919: x is essentially P iff x is necessarily P (or, in conditional form: iff x is necessarily P, if existent). This reduction of essence to pure QML has been found wanting by Fine 1994. As a consequence, the Moorean definition has been mostly abandoned (but see Cowling 2013). Some proposals have emerged that attempt to understand essence by means of revisions or extensions of standard QML. Zalta 2006 and Wildman 2013 have proposed to reduce essence to a combination of modal and non-modal notions. Correia 2007 has put forward an analysis of essence carried out in a modal logic which is more fine-grained that standard QML. Fine 1995, 2000 has formulated a quantified intensional logic for the notion of essence.
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  1. John Robert Baker (1978). Essentialism and the Modal Semantics of J. Hintikka. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 19 (1):81-91.
  2. John Robert Baker (1973). Quantified Modal Logic and the Problem of Essentialism. Dissertation, Vanderbilt University
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  3. Nuel Belnap & Thomas Müller, CIFOL: Case-Intensional First Order Logic. (I) Toward a Theory of Sorts.
    This is Part I of a two-part essay introducing case-intensional first-order logic (CIFOL), an easy-to-use, uniform, powerful, and useful combination of first order logic with modal logic resulting from philosophical and technical modifications of Bressan’s General interpreted modal calculus (Yale University Press 1972). CIFOL starts with a set of cases; each expression has an extension in each case and an intension, which is the function from the cases to the respective case-relative extensions. Predication is intensional; identity is extensional. Definite descriptions (...)
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  4. Alexander Bird (2006). Potency and Modality. Synthese 149 (3):447-52.
    Let us call a property that is essentially dispositional a potency.1 David Armstrong thinks that potencies do not exist. All sparse properties are essentially categorical, where sparse properties are the explanatory properties of the type science seeks to discover. An alternative view, but not the only one, is that all sparse properties are potencies or supervene upon them. In this paper I shall consider the differences between these views, in particular the objections Armstrong raises against potencies.
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  5. Baruch A. Brody (1972). De Re and de Dicto Interpretations of Modal Logic or a Return to an Aristotelean Essentialism. Philosophia 2 (1-2):117-136.
  6. Howard Burdick (1993). Non-Essentialistic Modal Logic or Meaning and Necessity Revisited. Philosophia 22 (1-2):87-93.
    Using the method of ordered pairs proposed in my 'A Logical Form for the Propositional Attitudes', a non-essentialistic modal logic is possible which avoids these oddities.
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  7. Howard Burdick (1982). A Logical Form for the Propositional Attitudes. Synthese 52 (2):185 - 230.
    The author puts forth an approach to propositional attitude contexts based upon the view that one does not have beliefs of ordinary extensional entitiessimpliciter. Rather, one has beliefs of such entities as presented in various manners. Roughly, these are treated as beliefs of ordered pairs — the first member of which is the ordinary extensional entity and the second member of which is a predicate that it satisfies. Such an approach has no difficulties with problems involving identity, such as of (...)
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  8. Fabrice Correia (2007). (Finean) Essence and (Priorean) Modality. Dialectica 61 (1):63–84.
    In Fine 1994, Kit Fine challenges the view that the notion of essence is to be understood in terms of the metaphysical modalities, and he argues that it is not essence which reduces to metaphysical modality, but rather metaphysical modality which reduces to essence. In this paper I put forward a modal account of essence and argue that it is immune from Fine’s objections. The account presupposes a non‐standard, independently motivated conception of the metaphysical modalities which I dub Priorean. Arthur (...)
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  9. W. Stephen Croddy (1988). Quine Against Essentialism and Quantified Modal Logic. Logique Et Analyse 31 (123-124):317-328.
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  10. Kit Fine (2000). Semantics for the Logic of Essence. Journal of Philosophical Logic 29 (6):543-584.
    This paper provides a possible worlds semantics for the system of the author's previous paper 'The Logic of Essence'. The basic idea behind the semantics is that a statement should be taken to be true in virtue of the nature of certain objects just in case it is true in any possible world compatible with the nature of those objects. It is shown that a slight variant of the original system is sound and complete under the proposed semantics.
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  11. Kit Fine (1995). The Logic of Essence. Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (3):241 - 273.
  12. Kit Fine (1994). Essence and Modality. Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.
    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 (...)
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  13. Dagfinn Føllesdal (2004). Referential Opacity and Modal Logic. Routledge.
    This landmark work provides a systematic introduction to systems of modal logic and stands as the first presentation of what have become central ideas in philosophy of language and metaphysics, from the "new theory of reference" and non-linguistic necessity and essentialism to "Kripke semantics.".
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  14. Dagfinn Føllesdal (1968). Quine on Modality. Synthese 19 (1-2):147 - 157.
    An appraisal of the current status of the modalities and of quine's arguments against them. The author accepts "quine's thesis," that one cannot quantify into referentially opaque contexts, And argues that nobody has succeeded in making sense of such quantification. However, It is shown that modal constructions, Being constructions on general terms and sentences, Can be referentially transparent and extensionally opaque and that consequently the collapse of modal distinctions warned against by quine in "word and object" can be avoided. This (...)
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  15. Alessandro Giordani (2013). A New Semantics for Systems of Logic of Essence. Studia Logica (3):1-30.
    The purpose of the present paper is to provide a way of understanding systems of logic of essence by introducing a new semantic framework for them. Three central results are achieved: first, the now standard Fitting semantics for the propositional logic of evidence is adapted in order to provide a new, simplified semantics for the propositional logic of essence; secondly, we show how it is possible to construe the concept of necessary truth explicitly by using the concept of essential truth; (...)
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  16. Dominic Gregory (2011). Iterated Modalities, Meaning and A Priori Knowledge. Philosophers' Imprint 11 (3).
    Recent work on the philosophy of modality has tended to pass over questions about iterated modalities in favour of constructing ambitious metaphysical theories of possibility and necessity, despite the central importance of iterated modalities to modal logic. Yet there are numerous unresolved but fundamental issues involving iterated modalities: Chandler and Salmon have provided forceful arguments against the widespread assumption that all necessary truths are necessarily necessary, for example. The current paper examines a range of ways in which one might seek (...)
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  17. Reina Hayaki (2006). Contingent Objects and the Barcan Formula. Erkenntnis 64 (1):75 - 83.
    It has been argued by Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta, and independently by Timothy Williamson, that the best quantified modal logic is one that validates both the Barcan Formula and its converse. This requires that domains be fixed across all possible worlds. All objects exist necessarily; some – those we would usually consider contingent – are concrete at some worlds and non-concrete (but still existent) at others. Linsky and Zalta refer to such objects as ‘contingently non-concrete’. I defend the standard (...)
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  18. Philip V. Kargopoulos (1984). Realism, Relativism and Reference. University Microfilms International.
    The central thesis of this dissertation is that the recently proposed Causal Theories of Reference by K. Donnellan, H. Putnam, and especially S. Kripke provide support for Scientific Realism as developed in the theories of J. J. C. Smart, H. Putnam, and especially R. Boyd, on the face of the most serious challenge to scientific objectivity contained in the writings of the Relativists S. Toulmin, N. R. Hanson, T. S. Kuhn, and P. Feyerabend. I have argued accordingly that all the (...)
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  19. Leonard Linsky (1971). Reference and Modality. London,Oxford University Press.
    1. Reference and modality by W. V. O. Quine.--2. Modality and description by A. F. Smullyan.--3. Extensionality by R. B. Marcus.--4. Quantification into causal contexts by D. Føllesdal.--5. Semantical considerations on modal logic by S. A. Kripke.--6. Essentialism and quantified modal logic by T. Parsons.--7. Reference, essentialism, and modality by L. Linsky.--8. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes by W. V. O. Quine.--9. Quantifying in by D. Kaplan.--10. Semantics for propositional attitudes by J. Hintikka.--11. On Carnap's analysis of statements of assertion and (...)
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  20. Joao Marcos (2005). Logics of Essence and Accident. Bulletin of the Section of Logic 34 (1):43-56.
    We say that things happen accidentally when they do indeed happen, but only by chance. In the opposite situation, an essential happening is inescapable, its inevitability being the sine qua non for its very occurrence. This paper will investigate modal logics on a language tailored to talk about essential and accidental statements. Completeness of some among the weakest and the strongest such systems is attained. The weak expressibility of the classical propositional language enriched with the non-normal modal operators of essence (...)
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  21. Ruth Barcan Marcus (1967). Essentialism in Modal Logic. Noûs 1 (1):91-96.
  22. Ruth Barcan Marcus (1961/1993). Modalities: Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Based on her earlier ground-breaking axiomatization of quantified modal logic, the papers collected here by the distinguished philosopher Ruth Barcan Marcus cover much ground in the development of her thought, spanning from 1961 to 1990. The first essay here introduces themes initially viewed as iconoclastic, such as the necessity of identity, the directly referential role of proper names as "tags", the Barcan Formula about the interplay of possibility and existence, and alternative interpretations of quantification. Marcus also addresses the putative puzzles (...)
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  23. Ruth Barcan Marcus, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman & Nicholas Asher (eds.) (1995). Modality, Morality, and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus. Cambridge University Press.
    Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
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  24. Thomas J. McKay (1975). Essentialism in Quantified Modal Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (4):423 - 438.
    This paper mentions several different sorts of "essentialism," and examines various senses in which quantified modal logic is "committed to" the most troublesome kind of essentialism. It is argued that essentialism is neither provable, Nor entailed by any contingently true non-Modal sentence. But quantified modal logic is committed to the meaningfulness of essentialism. This sort of commitment may be made innocuous by requiring that essentialism simply be made logically false; some of the consequences of taking this line are explored.
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  25. Christopher Menzel (2000). Review of J. Copeland (Ed.), Logic and Reality: Essays on the Legacy of Arthur Prior. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 109 (2):281-286.
  26. Robert Michels (2013). Metaphysical Modality and Essentiality. Dissertation, University of Geneva
    Essentialists claim that we can distinguish between an object's essential and its accidental properties. Following important developments in modal logic during the 1960s and 70s, the orthodox view was that the essential properties of an object are its necessary properties. In his influential 1994 paper "Essence and Modality", Kit Fine argues that the orthodox view is wrong. His two main claims are that first, essentiality cannot be defined in terms of necessity and second, that necessity should instead be defined in (...)
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  27. Manuel Perez Otero (1996). Verdad Necesaria Versus Teorema de Lógica Modal (Necessary Truth Versus Theorem of Modal Logic). Theoria 11 (1):185-201.
    En este artículo discuto el supuesto compromiso de la lógica modal cuantificada con el esencialismo. Entre otros argumentos, Quine, el más emblemático de los críticos de la modalidad, ha objetado a la lógica modal cuantificada que ésta se compromete con una doctrina filosófica usualmente considerada sospechosa, el esencialismo: la concepción que distingue, de entre los atributos de una cosa, aquellos que le son esenciales de otros poseidos sólo contingentemente. Examino en qué medida Quine puede tener razón sobre ese punto explorando (...)
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  28. S. H. Parker (1976). Essential Properties and Possible Worlds. Philosophia 6 (2):317-320.
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  29. Terence Parsons (1969). Essentialism and Quantified Modal Logic. Philosophical Review 78 (1):35-52.
  30. Terence Parsons (1967). Grades of Essentialism in Quantified Modal Logic. Noûs 1 (2):181-191.
  31. Richard Patterson (1990). Conversion Principles and the Basis of Aristotle's Modal Logic. History and Philosophy of Logic 11 (2):151-172.
    Aristotle founds his modal syllogistic, like his plain syllogistic, on a small set of ?perfect? or obviously valid sylligisms. The rest he reduces to those, usually by means of modal conversion principles. These principles are open to more than one reading, however, and they are in fact invalid on one traditional reading (de re), valid on the other (de dicto). It is argued here that this way of framing the contrast is not Aristotelian, and that an interpretation involving modal copulae (...)
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  32. M. Perrick & H. de Swart (1993). Quantified Modal Logic, Reference and Essentialism. Logique Et Analyse 143 (143-144):219-231.
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  33. Alvin Plantinga (1992). The Nature of Necessity. Clarendon Press.
    This book, one of the first full-length studies of the modalities to emerge from the debate to which Saul Kripke, David Lewis, Ruth Marcus, and others are contributing, is an exploration and defense of the notion of modality de re, the idea that objects have both essential and accidental properties. Plantinga develops his argument by means of the notion of possible worlds and ranges over such key problems as the nature of essence, transworld identity, negative existential propositions, and the existence (...)
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  34. W. V. O. Quine (1953). Three Grades of Modal Involvement. In Journal of Symbolic Logic. North-Holland Publishing Co.. 168-169.
    Reprinted in Quine, W. V. O. 1966. The Ways of Paradox. (New York: Random House.).
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  35. Dwayne Raymond (2011). Polarity and Inseparability: The Foundation of the Apodictic Portion of Aristotle's Modal Logic. History and Philosophy of Logic 31 (3):193-218.
    Modern logicians have sought to unlock the modal secrets of Aristotle's Syllogistic by assuming a version of essentialism and treating it as a primitive within the semantics. These attempts ultimately distort Aristotle's ontology. None of these approaches make full use of tests found throughout Aristotle's corpus and ancient Greek philosophy. I base a system on Aristotle's tests for things that can never combine (polarity) and things that can never separate (inseparability). The resulting system not only reproduces Aristotle's recorded results for (...)
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  36. Sonia Roca-Royes (2011). Essentialism Vis-À-Vis Possibilia, Modal Logic, and Necessitism. Philosophy Compass 6 (1):54-64.
    Pace Necessitism – roughly, the view that existence is not contingent – essential properties provide necessary conditions for the existence of objects. Sufficiency properties, by contrast, provide sufficient conditions, and individual essences provide necessary and sufficient conditions. This paper explains how these kinds of properties can be used to illuminate the ontological status of merely possible objects and to construct a respectable possibilist ontology. The paper also reviews two points of interaction between essentialism and modal logic. First, we will briefly (...)
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  37. Sonia Roca-Royes (2006). Peacocke’s Principle-Based Account of Modality: “Flexibility of Origins” Plus S4. Erkenntnis 65 (3):405-426.
    Due to the influence of Nathan Salmon’s views, endorsement of the “flexibility of origins” thesis is often thought to carry a commitment to the denial of S4. This paper rejects the existence of this commitment and examines how Peacocke’s theory of the modal may accommodate flexibility of origins without denying S4. One of the essential features of Peacocke’s account is the identification of the Principles of Possibility, which include the Modal Extension Principle (MEP), and a set of Constitutive Principles. Regarding (...)
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  38. Nathan Salmon (1989). The Logic of What Might Have Been. Philosophical Review 98 (1):3-34.
  39. James E. Tomberlin (1975). Essentialism and Possible Worlds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 35 (3):323-340.
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  40. Alessandro Torza (2013). How to Lewis a Kripke-Hintikka. Synthese 190 (4):743-779.
    It has been argued that a combination of game-theoretic semantics and independence-friendly (IF) languages can provide a novel approach to the conceptual foundations of mathematics and the sciences. I introduce and motivate an IF first-order modal language endowed with a game-theoretic semantics of perfect information. The resulting interpretive independence-friendly logic (IIF) allows to formulate some basic model-theoretic notions that are inexpressible in the ordinary quantified modal logic. Moreover, I argue that some key concepts of Kripke’s new theory of reference are (...)
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  41. Nathan Wildman (2013). Modality, Sparsity, and Essence. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (253):760-782.
    Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter-examples which purport to show that attempts to understand essence in terms of metaphysical necessity are ‘fundamentally misguided’. Here, my aim is to put forward a new version of modalism that is, I argue, immune to Fine's counter-examples. The core of this new modalist account is a sparseness restriction, such that an object's essential properties are those sparse properties it has in every world in which it exists. After first motivating this sparseness (...)
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  42. John Woods (1973). Descriptions, Essences and Quantified Modal Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 2 (2):304 - 321.
    Could one give expression to a doctrine of essentialism without running afoul of semantical problems that are alleged to beggar systems of quantified modal logic? An affirmative answer is, I believe, called for at least in the case of individual essentialism. Individual essentialism is an ontological thesis concerning a kind of necessary connection between objects and their (essential) properties. It is not or anyhow not primarily a semantic thesis, a thesis about meanings, for example. And thus we are implicitly counselled (...)
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  43. Richard Woodward (2011). The Things That Aren't Actually There. Philosophical Studies 152 (2):155 - 166.
    The standard Kripkean semantic theories for quantified modal logic allow the individuals that exist at other worlds to vary from those that exist at the actual world. This causes a problem for those who deny the existence of non-actual individuals. I focus on two prominent strategies for solving this problem, due respectively to Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta (who identify the possible individuals with the actual individuals) and Alvin Plantinga (who identifies the possible individuals with the individual essences). I argue, (...)
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  44. Mark Young (2011). Relevance and Relationalism. Metaphysica 12 (1):19-30.
    This paper will provide support for relationalism; the claim that the identity of objects is constituted by the totality of their relations to other things in the world. I will consider how Kit Fine’s criticisms of essentialism within modal logic not only highlight the inability of modal logic to account for essential properties but also arouse suspicion surrounding the possibility of nonrelational properties. I will claim that Fine’s criticisms, together with concerns surrounding Hempel’s paradox, show that it is not possible (...)
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  45. Edward N. Zalta (2006). Essence and Modality. Mind 115 (459):659-693.
    Some recently-proposed counterexamples to the traditional definition of essential property do not require a separate logic of essence. Instead, the examples can be analysed in terms of the logic and theory of abstract objects. This theory distinguishes between abstract and ordinary objects, and provides a general analysis of the essential properties of both kinds of object. The claim ‘x has F necessarily’ becomes ambiguous in the case of abstract objects, and in the case of ordinary objects there are various ways (...)
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