About this topic
Summary

Essentialism is the view that objects (or other entities) have at least some of their properties essentially, that these are (at least) necessary conditions for being this object, or belonging to this kind.  Traditionally, anti-essentialism would then be the view that this is not so.  But many who would be classified as anti-essentialists are really skeptical only about ‘real’ or mind-independent essences. Some are skeptical of modality in general, and claim that one cannot really make any sense of the essential/accidental distinction.  A larger group of skeptics do not reject the distinction entirely, but see it as non-objective, as somehow a product of mental activity – this includes conventionalists, projectivists, response-dependence theorists and deflationists.  Anti-essentialists are usually motivated by metaphysical concerns about the supposed nature or basis of essential properties, or the seeming arbitrariness of what falls on one or the other side of the divide, and by epistemological concerns about our ability to know that some feature is essential, often focusing on our actual practices which involve intuitions and thought experiments.  Anti-essentialism concerning kinds – at least in some domains - is also sometimes motivated by Wittgenstein’s remarks on ‘family resemblance’ in the Philosophical Investigations. With Kripke and Putnam’s arguments supporting necessity a posterioriand plausible essentialist claims which could not be seen as true in virtue of meaning, essentialism experienced a resurgence which it still enjoys, both about essential properties of individuals and of natural kinds.  Some subsequent anti-essentialists challenge the essentialist claims, while others accept the phenomena of a posteriorinecessity and necessity de re, while attempting to understand them in a deflationary way.  A more robust anti-essentialism – a denial of essences - is more common in discussion of biological and social kinds.  Deflationist accounts of essence are also often tied to deflationary, conventional or constructivist accounts of the things which have these essences – individuals and kinds.

Key works

 Locke 1689, Book III ch. iv distinguishes real essence from nominal essence, and argues that the boundaries of the things we talk about are set by nominal essences. He also classifies species as ‘the workmanship of the understanding,’ since their essences are.  Quine 1953 connects quantified modal logic and essentialism, and ends with a famous disparagement of essentialism as ‘a jungle’.   Mackie 1974 illustrates a deflationary approach to essence as does Sidelle 1989.  Skepticism about essence in biology is famously championed by Hull 1964 and more recently by Winsor 2006 , while it is a common theme in literature on gender and social kinds, discussed (critically) in Witt 1995

Related categories

80 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 80
  1. The Limits of Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):74-92.
    Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude is the thesis that, necessarily, any property that could be had essentially by something or other is had essentially by something or other if and only if and because it is instantiated; any essentializable property is essentialized iff and because it is instantiated. In this paper, I develop a partial nonmodal characterization of ‘essentializable' and show it cannot be transformed into a full characterization. There are several seemingly insurmountable obstacles that any full characterization of essentializability must overcome. Moreover, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  2. Science and Other Common Nouns: Further Implications of Anti‐Essentialism.J. B. Stump - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):782-791.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  3. Linguistic Convention and Worldly Fact: Prospects for a Naturalist Theory of the a Priori.Brett Topey - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1725-1752.
    Truth by convention, once thought to be the foundation of a uniquely promising approach to explaining our access to the truth in nonempirical domains, is nowadays widely considered an absurdity. Its fall from grace has been due largely to the influence of an argument that can be sketched as follows: our linguistic conventions have the power to make it the case that a sentence expresses a particular proposition, but they can’t by themselves generate truth; whether a given proposition is true—and (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  4. Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality.Sören Häggqvist & Åsa Wikforss - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):911-933.
    The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  5. The New Aristotelian Essentialists.Harold W. Noonan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):87-93.
    In recent years largely due to the seminal work of Kit Fine and that of Jonathan Lowe there has been a resurgence of interest in the concept of essence and the project of explaining de re necessity in terms of it. Of course, Quine rejected what he called Aristotelian essentialism in his battle against quantified modal logic. But what he and Kripke debated was a notion of essence defined in terms of de re necessity. The new Aristotelian essentialists regard essence (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   5 citations  
  6. Quine, Davidson, Relative Essentialism and the Question of Being.Samuel C. Wheeler - 2018 - Open Philosophy 1 (1):115-128.
    Relative essentialism, the view that multiple objects about which there are distinct de re modal truths can occupy the same space at the same time, is a metaphysical view that dissolves a number of metaphysical issues. The present essay constructs and defends relative essentialism and argues that it is implicit in some of the ideas of W. V. Quine and Donald Davidson. Davidson’s published views about individuation and sameness can accommodate the common-sense insights about change and persistence of Aristotle and (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  7. In Defence of Modal Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
    Kit Fine’s arguments in Essence and Modality are widely accepted as being a decisive blow against modal essentialism. A selection of replies exist that have done little to counter the general view that modally construed essence is out of touch with what we really mean when we make essentialist claims. I argue that Fine’s arguments fail to strike a decisive blow, and I suggest a new interpretation of the debate that shows why Fine’s arguments fall short of achieving their goal.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   14 citations  
  8. The Contingency Problem for Neo-Conventionalism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):653-671.
    Traditional conventionalism about modality claims that a proposition is necessarily true iff it is true by convention. In the wake of the widespread repudiation of truth-byconvention, traditional conventionalism has fallen out of favour. However, a family of theories of modality have arisen that, whilst abandoning truth-by-convention, retain the spirit of traditional conventionalism. These ‘neo-conventionalist’ theories surpass their forebears and don’t fall victim to the criticisms inherited through truth-by-convention. However, not all criticisms levelled at traditional conventionalism target truth-by-convention. Any conventional theory (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  9. Lockean Real Essences and Ontology.Jan-Erik Jones - 2016 - Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (2):137-162.
    In this paper I argue that John Locke is not ontologically committed to corpuscularian real essences. I do this by laying out his antirealist argument against corpuscular real essences within the Essay and then defend it. I then identify a version of real essences to which he is ontologically committed. Recognition of the antirealist argument in the Essay should significantly alter our interpretation of the Essay.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  10. Not So Human, After All?Brendan Shea - 2016 - In C. Lewis & K. McCain (eds.), Red Rising and Philosophy. Chicago, IL: Open Court. pp. 15-25.
    If asked to explain why the Golds’ treatment of other colors in Red Rising is wrong, it is tempting to say something like “they are all human beings, and it is wrong to treat humans in this way!” In this essay, I’ll argue that this simple answer is considerably complicated by the fact that the different colors might not be members of the same biological species, and it is in fact unclear whether any of them are the same species as (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  11. MATTHEW H. SLATER Are Species Real? An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):1029-1033.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  12. Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):795-822.
    Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario, and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT)—that necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is of the same kind as another (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (13 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   25 citations  
  13. Microstructure Without Essentialism: A New Perspective on Chemical Classification.Julia R. Bursten - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):633-653,.
    Recently, macroscopic accounts of chemical kind individuation have been proposed as alternatives to the microstructural essentialist account advocated by Kripke, Putnam, and others. These accounts argue that individuation of chemical kinds is based on macroscopic criteria such as reactivity or thermodynamics, and they challenge the essentialism that grounds the Kripke-Putnam view. Using a variety of chemical examples, I argue that microstructure grounds these macroscopic accounts, but that this grounding need not imply essentialism. Instead, kinds are individuated on the basis of (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  14. De Re Essentialism, Species, and Modal Ambiguity.Ross Inman - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1).
    I offer a concise critique of a recurring line of reasoning advanced by Joseph LaPorte and Samir Okasha that all modern species concepts render the view that biological organisms essentially belong to their species empirically untenable. The argument, I claim, trades on a crucial modal ambiguity that collapses the de re/de dicto distinction. Contra their claim that the continued adherence of such a view on behalf of contemporary metaphysicians stems from the latter’s ignorance of developments in modern biology, the modal (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  15. Antirealist Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    This project is an investigation into the prospects for an antirealist theory of essence. Essentialism is the claim that at least some things have some of their properties essentially. Essentialist discourse includes claims such as “Socrates is essentially human”, and “Socrates is accidentally bearded”. Historically, there are two ways of interpreting essentialist discourse. I call these positions ‘modal essentialism’ and ‘neo-Aristotelian essentialism’. According to modal essentialism, for Socrates to be essentially human is for it to be necessary that he be (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  16. Essentialism: Metaphysical or Psychological?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):65-72.
    In this paper, I argue that Psychological Essentialism (PE), the view that essences are a heuristic or mental shortcut, is a better explanation for modal intuitions than Metaphysical Essentialism (ME), the view that objects have essences, or more precisely, that (at least some) objects have (at least some) essential properties. If this is correct, then the mere fact that we have modal intuitions is not a strong reason to believe that objects have essential properties.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   4 citations  
  17. Deep Conventionalism About Evolutionary Groups.Matthew J. Barker & Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):971-982.
    We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  18. Perhaps Essentialism is Not so Essential: At Least Not for Natural Kinds: Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O’Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater : Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011, X+355pp, $30.00 PB, $60.00 HB. [REVIEW]Miles MacLeod - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):293-296.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  19. The Construction of Logical Space.Agustín Rayo - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Our conception of logical space is the set of distinctions we use to navigate the world. Agustn Rayo argues that this is shaped by acceptance or rejection of 'just is'-statements: e.g. 'to be composed of water just is to be composed of H2O'. He offers a novel conception of metaphysical possibility, and a new trivialist philosophy of mathematics.
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   61 citations  
  20. Are Species Real? An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
  21. Knowledge of Essence: The Conferralist Story.Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):21-32.
    Realist essentialists face a prima facie challenge in accounting for our knowledge of the essences of things, and in particular, in justifying our engaging in thought experiments to gain such knowledge. In contrast, conferralist essentialism has an attractive story to tell about how we gain knowledge of the essences of things, and how thought experiments are a justified method for gaining such knowledge. The conferralist story is told in this essay.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  22. Soames’s Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  23. Quine on Objects and De Re Modality.Antti Keskinen - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (2):4-17.
  24. Three Ways of Resisting Essentialism About Natural Kinds.Bence Nanay - 2011 - In J. K. Campbell & M. H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press. pp. 175--97.
    Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. But, at (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   4 citations  
  25. Against Species Essentialism: John S. Wilkins: Species: A History of the Idea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Xiv+320 Pp, $49.95 HB.Olivier Rieppel - 2011 - Metascience 20 (2):339-341.
    Against species essentialism Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9448-6 Authors Olivier Rieppel, Department of Geology, The Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605-2496, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  26. Locke on Real Essences, Intelligibility, and Natural Kinds.Jan-Erik Jones - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:147-172.
    In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for natural kinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  27. Modality and Objects.Alan Sidelle - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):109-125.
    A not-unpopular position in the metaphysics of material objects (Ted Sider's, for instance) combines realism about what objects there are and the conditions of objecthood with conventionalism about de re modality. I argue that this is not a coherent combination of views: one must go fully conventionalist, or fully realist. The central argument displays the difficulty for the modal conventionalist/object realist in specifying the object that satisfies de re modal predicates. I argue that if this is a mind-independent object, contradictions (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  28. Mechanisms and Natural Kinds.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):575-594.
    It is common to defend the Homeostatic Property Cluster ( HPC ) view as a third way between conventionalism and essentialism about natural kinds ( Boyd , 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999; Griffiths , 1997, 1999; Keil , 2003; Kornblith , 1993; Wilson , 1999, 2005; Wilson , Barker , & Brigandt , forthcoming ). According to the HPC view, property clusters are not merely conventionally clustered together; the co-occurrence of properties in the cluster is sustained by a similarity generating ( (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   95 citations  
  29. How Scientific Is Scientific Essentialism?Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (1):85-101.
    Scientific essentialism holds that: (1) each scientific kind is associated with the same set of properties in every possible world; and (2) every individual member of a scientific kind belongs to that kind in every possible world in which it exists. Recently, Ellis (Scientific essentialism, 2001 ; The philosophy of nature 2002 ) has provided the most sustained defense of scientific essentialism, though he does not clearly distinguish these two claims. In this paper, I argue that both claims face a (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  30. Quantifying in and Anti-Essentialism.Michael Nelson - 2009 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of. Routledge.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  31. Essentialism and Reference to Kinds: Three Issues in Penelope Mackie'show Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties.Teresa Robertson - 2009 - Philosophical Books 50 (3):125-141.
  32. Conventionalism and the Contingency of Conventions.Alan Sidelle - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):224-241.
    One common objection to Conventionalism about modality is that since it is contingent what our conventions are, the modal facts themselves will thereby be contingent. A standard reply is that Conventionalists can accept this, if they reject the S4 axiom, that what is possibly possible is possible. I first argue that this reply is inadequate, but then continue to argue that it is not needed, because the Conventionalist need not concede that the contingency of our conventions has any bearing on (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  33. Philosophical Investigations, 4th Edition (Trans. Hacker and Schulte).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  34. Necessity and Language: In Defence of Conventionalism.Hans-Johann Glock - 2008 - Philosophical Investigations 31 (1):24–47.
  35. Essentiality Conferred.Ásta Sveinsdóttir - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):135 - 148.
    In this article I introduce a certain kind of anti-realist account of what makes a property essential to an object and defend it against likely objections. This account, which I call a ‘conferralist’ account, shares some of the attractive features of other anti-realist accounts, such as conventionalism and expressivism, but I believe, not their respective drawbacks.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   15 citations  
  36. Quinean Scepticism About de Re Modality After David Lewis.John Divers - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):40–62.
  37. Why Water is Not H2O, and Other Critiques of Essentialist Ontology From the Philosophy of Chemistry.Holly VandeWall - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):906-919.
    Ellis argues that certain essential properties of objects in the world not only determine the nature of these objects but also how they will behave in any situation. In this paper I will critique Ellis's essentialism from the perspective of the philosophy of chemistry, arguing that our current knowledge of chemistry in fact does not lend itself to essentialist interpretations and that this seriously undercuts Ellis's project. In particular I will criticize two key distinctions Ellis draws between internal vs. external (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  38. Joseph LaPorte. Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change. X + 221 Pp., Notes, Refs., Index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. $70. [REVIEW]Gordon McOuat - 2006 - Isis 97 (3):594-595.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  39. Evolutionary Essentialism.Denis Walsh - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):425-448.
    According to Aristotelian essentialism, the nature of an organism is constituted of a particular goal-directed disposition to produce an organism typical of its kind. This paper argues—against the prevailing orthodoxy—that essentialism of this sort is indispensable to evolutionary biology. The most powerful anti-essentialist arguments purport to show that the natures of organisms play no explanatory role in modern synthesis biology. I argue that recent evolutionary developmental biology provides compelling evidence to the contrary. Developmental biology shows that one must appeal to (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   47 citations  
  40. The Creation of the Essentialism Story: An Exercise in Metahistory.Mary P. Winsor - 2006 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (2):149 - 174.
    The essentialism story is a version of the history of biological classification that was fabricated between 1953 and 1968 by Ernst Mayr, who combined contributions from Arthur Cain and David Hull with his own grudge against Plato. It portrays pre-Darwinian taxonomists as caught in the grip of an ancient philosophy called essentialism, from which they were not released until Charles Darwin's 1859 Origin of Species. Mayr's motive was to promote the Modern Synthesis in opposition to the typology of idealist morphologists; (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   37 citations  
  41. Linaeus' Biology Was Not Essentialist.Mary P. Winsor - 2006 - Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 93 (1):2-7.
    The current picture of the history of taxonomy incorporates A. J. Cain's claim that Linnaeus strove to apply the logical method of definition taught by medieval followers of Aristotle. Cain's argument does not stand up to critical examination. Contrary to some published statements, there is no evidence that Linnaeus ever studied logic. His use of the words “genus” and “species” ruined the meaning they had in logic, and “essential” meant to him merely “taxonomically useful.” The essentialism story, a narrative that (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   13 citations  
  42. Anti-Essentialism and Counterpart Theory.Mark Heller - 2005 - The Monist 88 (4):600-618.
    Anti-essentialism holds that no thing has any modal properties except relative to a conceptualization—for instance, relative to a description. One and the same thing might be essentially rational relative to the description “mathematician” but only accidentally rational relative to the description “bicyclist.” Anti-essentialism was dominant in pre-Kripkean days. The old description theory of names made room for anti-essentialism by reducing apparently true de re modal attributions to de dicto ones by way of the hidden description. We can follow Kripke in (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  43. Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change.Joseph Laporte - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):672-674.
    Remove from this list  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   86 citations  
  44. Pre-Darwinian Taxonomy and Essentialism – a Reply to Mary Winsor.David N. Stamos - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):79-96.
    Mary Winsor (2003) argues against the received view that pre-Darwinian taxonomy was characterized mainly by essentialism. She argues, instead, that the methods of pre-Darwinian taxonomists, in spite of whatever their beliefs, were that of clusterists, so that the received view, propagated mainly by certain modern biologists and philosophers of biology, should at last be put to rest as a myth. I argue that shes right when it comes to higher taxa, but wrong when it comes the most important category of (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   17 citations  
  45. Chemical Kinds and Essences Revisited.Rom Harré - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (1):7-30.
    The philosophical problem of the utility andmeaning of essences for chemistry cannot beresolved by Wittgenstein's principle thatessence cannot explain use, because use isdisplayed in a field of family resemblances.The transition of chemical taxonomy fromvernacular and mystical based terms to theorybased terms stabilized as a unified descriptivetaxonomy, removes chemical discourse from itsconnection with the vernacular. The transitioncan be tracked using the Lockean concepts ofreal and nominal essences, and the changingpriorities between them. Analyzing propertiesdispositionally, initiating a search forgroundings strengthens the case for (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  46. A Note on Scientific Essentialism, Laws of Nature, and Counterfactual Conditionals.Marc Lange - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241.
    Scientific essentialism aims to account for the natural laws' special capacity to support counterfactuals. I argue that scientific essentialism can do so only by resorting to devices that are just as ad hoc as those that essentialists accuse Humean regularity theories of employing. I conclude by offering an account of the laws' distinctive relation to counterfactuals that portrays laws as contingent but nevertheless distinct from accidents by virtue of possessing a genuine variety of necessity.
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   20 citations  
  47. Essence and Anti-Essentialism About Art.Lauren Tillinghast - 2004 - British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):167-183.
    I argue that clarity about essence provides the tools both to isolate a distinct concept of art and to see why anti-essentialism is a plausible, though incomplete, doctrine about it. While this concept is not the only concept currently expressed by our word ‘art’, it is an interesting, and might be an important, one. One of the challenges it poses to conceptual analysis is to explain what it is to be better than being good of a thing's kind, where this (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  48. Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change.Joseph LaPorte - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
    According to the received tradition, the language used to to refer to natural kinds in scientific discourse remains stable even as theories about these kinds are refined. In this illuminating book, Joseph LaPorte argues that scientists do not discover that sentences about natural kinds, like 'Whales are mammals, not fish', are true rather than false. Instead, scientists find that these sentences were vague in the language of earlier speakers and they refine the meanings of the relevant natural-kind terms to make (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   96 citations  
  49. Non-Essentialist Methods in Pre-Darwinian Taxonomy.Mary P. Winsor - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (3):387-400.
    The current widespread belief that taxonomic methods used before Darwin were essentialist is ill-founded. The essentialist method developed by followers of Plato and Aristotle required definitions to state properties that are always present. Polythetic groups do not obey that requirement, whatever may have been the ontological beliefs of the taxonomist recognizing such groups. Two distinct methods of forming higher taxa, by chaining and by examplar, were widely used in the period between Linnaeus and Darwin, and both generated polythetic groups. Philosopher (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   40 citations  
  50. Dupre's Anti-Essentialist Objection to Reductionism.D. Gene Witmer - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):181-200.
    In his 'The Disorder of Things' John Dupré presents an objection to reductionism which I call the 'anti-essentialist objection': it is that reductionism requires essentialism, and essentialism is false. I unpack the objection and assess its cogency. Once the objection is clearly in view, it is likely to appeal to those who think conceptual analysis a bankrupt project. I offer on behalf of the reductionist two strategies for responding, one which seeks to rehabilitate conceptual analysis and one (more concessive) which (...)
    Remove from this list   Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
1 — 50 / 80