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British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (1):90-91 (1993)
correct insofar as he thinks Humeanism is committed to object transubstantia- tion. If the individual essences of objects are constituted only by intrinsic categorical properties, and it is possible for their dispositional properties to change without accompanying changes in their intrinsic categorical properties, then it would be possible for a particular object to remain the very same object even if its dispositions to behave changed radically. It is not clear, however, that scientific essentialism per se is not also committed to object transubstantiation. Scientific essentialism would preclude object transubstantiation if the kinds instantiated by an object were part of the individual essence of the object; for instance, if being a member of the substance kind human were essential to the individual Nixon. But Ellis specifically denies this claim; he asserts that “individual essences would seem to have very little to do with kind essences” (238–39). So once object transubstantiation is distinguished from kind transubstantiation, it is not clear how embarrassed the Humean should be. Neither scientific essentialism nor Humeanism per se is committed to kind transubstantiation. And though Humeanism is committed to object transubstantiation, scientific essentialism per se does not preclude object transubstantiation.
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