The Epistemology of Essence

Abstract
Our epistemic access to essence is a topic which has received very little attention. This is partly due to the mystery surrounding the notion of essence itself, and partly due to the sheer difficulty of developing a plausible epistemology. The need for such an account is clear: if there are any essences, we better have some story about how we come to know them. The starting point of this paper is an Aristotelian conception of essence; familiar from the work of Kit Fine, E. J. Lowe, David S. Oderberg, and others, i.e., essence is ontologically prior to modality. I introduce four options regarding our epistemic access to essence. These fall in two groups: we could gain knowledge about essence either directly, or via modal knowledge. Furthermore, each of these routes to essence could be either a priori or a posteriori (or a combination of the two). The advantages and disadvantages of each approach will be analysed, and I will ultimately defend the view according to which our epistemic access to essence is via our a priori knowledge of metaphysical modality
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    David Yates (2013). The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
    Fabrice Correia (2012). On the Reduction of Necessity to Essence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):639-653.
    Kathrin Koslicki (2012). Essence, Necessity, and Explanation. In Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. 187--206.
    Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology. Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2012-05-05

    Total downloads

    86 ( #11,869 of 1,088,426 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    4 ( #24,197 of 1,088,426 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.