Descriptions, essences and quantified modal logic

Journal of Philosophical Logic 2 (2):304 - 321 (1973)
Abstract
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 not to seek for the logical reconstruction of such necessities in theories in which necessity is a de ditto matter. A more natural-seeming target is an understanding of the structure of idioms of de re necessity. Of course, de re necessities may turn out to be special cases of necessities de ditto, with what consequences it is interesting to speculate upon, but it would be preferable if the theory of individual essences were to be prosecuted initially at least without prejudice to this other matter. A theory of individual essences therefore may find it a convenience to recognize a special category of open sentence by means of which to represent de re attributions of necessity
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John Woods (1975). Identity and Modality. Philosophia 5 (1-2):69-120.
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