The context of essence

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):170 – 184 (2004)
Abstract
I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defense of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal intuitions while holding that objects have their modal properties independently of contexts.
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