De re modality, generic essences, and science

Philosophia 9 (2):167-186 (1980)
I have taken the traditional problem of the seeming interdependence of identity concepts and essentialistic concepts and the attendant difficulties with circularity as a starting point in my consideration of recent attempts to provide accounts ofde re essences. Having distinguished between theories of individual and generic essences, I have shown how a linguistic device based upon a new approach to referring expressions has, perhaps, provided some advance in the understanding of individualde re essences. I have argued that, however efficacious these linguistic devices may be in dealing with individual essences, they are of no help in dealing with generic essences. I considered, therefore, one of the recent attempts to use science as the arbiter ofde re essences and concluded that such attempts will not, ultimately, solve the traditional problem of circularity. That problem remains, arising in different forms to thwart different attempts to account forde re generic essences
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DOI 10.1007/BF02379116
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Peter Geach (1957). Mental Acts. Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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