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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 posteriori necessity 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, though this sometimes is rather a denial of a specific sort of essence - for instance, a set of necessary and sufficient conditions drawn from intrinsic properties which allow for no borderline cases.  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

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98 found
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  1. The Mess We Make: On the Metaphysics of Artifact Kinds.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    According to natural kind essentialism, there are certain properties essential to natural kinds. A similar view, artifact kind essentialism, is commonly held for artifactual kinds. According to artifact kind essentialism, artifactual kinds have essential properties that determine their conditions of membership. In this paper, I explore and defend the possibility of a nonessentialist alternative for artifactual kind membership.
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  2. A Metametaphysics of Form.James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - In Gaven Kerr (ed.), Thomism Revisited. Cambridge University Press.
    A model of metaphysics associated with EJ Lowe and Tuomas Tahko sees metaphysics as involving a priori knowledge of possible essences, or at least modal facts, and delimiting the actual ‘ontological categories,’ the ultimate and essential divisions of what exists, based on the results of a posteriori scientific investigation. Their approach to metaphysics has been criticized by those who argue that such metaphysics is unsuitably a priori, disconnected with empirical research in natural science, and ends up failing to provide meaningful (...)
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  3. Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws: a deflationary account.Alan Sidelle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Two related claims have lately garnered currency: dispositional essentialism—the view that some or all properties, or some or all fundamental properties, are essentially dispositional; and the claim that laws of nature (or again, many or the fundamental ones) are metaphysically necessary. I have argued elsewhere (On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002) that the laws of nature do not have a mind-independent metaphysical necessity, but recent developments on dispositions have given these ideas a new (...)
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  4. Biological Species.Ingo Brigandt - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 276-290.
    In the 1970s, the position that species are natural kinds characterized by essences came to be challenged, and was replaced by the view that species are individuals. To date, this remains the dominant position, at least among biologists, despite influential arguments that species can be construed as homeostatic property cluster kinds (employing a revised notion of essence). Recent philosophical discussions have broadened the scope by articulating a neo-Aristotelian essentialism for species, developing a post-essentialist account of human nature, and scrutinizing temporal (...)
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  5. Conventionalism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks & Alan Sidelle - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 437-454.
    Conventionalism about essence is the view that truths about what is (and isn’t) essential to things are based upon talk and thought about the world, rather than mind-independent facts. This chapter presents motivations for conventionalism, and explains how conventionalism can be (and has been) developed to accommodate essences that can only be discovered with the help of empirical investigation, like “water is H2O” or “Obama is human”. We examine a range of objections that have been raised against conventionalism—often presented dismissively (...)
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  6. Sex and Gender.Esther Rosario - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
    This chapter surveys essentialist and anti-essentialist theories of sex and gender. It does so by engaging three approaches to sex and gender: externalism, internalism, and contextualism. The chapter also draws attention to two key debates about sex and gender in the feminist literature: the debate about the sex/gender distinction (the distinction debate) and the debate about whether sex and gender have essences (the essentialism/anti-essentialism debate). In addition, it describes three problems that theories of sex and gender tend to face: the (...)
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  7. Conferralism.Anand Vaidya & Michael Wallner - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 472-486.
    In this article we survey Ásta’s (2008, 2013) conferralist account of essence, which provides a broadly anti-realist picture of essence. We first offer some thoughts on the difference between realist and anti-realist accounts of essence in general. Then we present Ásta’s notion of a conferred property and sketch her conferralist account of essence. Finally, we examine some critical questions conferralism faces.
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  8. Conventionalism about Persons and the Nonidentity Problem.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (4):954-967.
    ABSTRACT I motivate ‘Origin Conventionalism’—the view that which facts about one’s origins are essential to one’s existence depends partly on our person-directed attitudes. One important upshot is that the view offers a novel and attractive solution to the Nonidentity Problem. That problem typically assumes that the sperm-egg pair from which a person originates is essential to that person’s existence; in which case, for many future persons that come into existence under adverse conditions, had those conditions not been realized, the individuals (...)
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  9. The Grounding Mystique.Alan Sidelle - 2023 - The Monist 106 (3):225-238.
    Grounding has become all the rage in recent philosophical work and metaphilosophical discussions. While I agree that the concept of ground marks something useful, I am skeptical about the metaphysical weight many imbue it with, and the picture of ‘worldly layering’ that grounding talk inspires. My skepticism centers around the fact that grounding involves necessitation, combined with reasons for thinking matters of necessity are matters of logical or conceptual (semantic, psychological) relations. I sketch an argument for deflationism about ground based (...)
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  10. William Whewell, Cluster Theorist of Kinds.Zina B. Ward - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (2):362-386.
    A dominant strand of philosophical thought holds that natural kinds are clusters of objects with shared properties. Cluster theories of natural kinds are often taken to be a late twentieth-century development, prompted by dissatisfaction with essentialism in philosophy of biology. I will argue here, however, that a cluster theory of kinds had actually been formulated by William Whewell (1794-1866) more than a century earlier. Cluster theories of kinds can be characterized in terms of three central commitments, all of which are (...)
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  11. Against the epistemology of essence.Nathan Wildman - 2023 - Connaissance Philosophique Et Connaissance des Essences.
    While recent history has seen significant debate concerning the nature and extension of essence, comparatively little attention has been paid to the epistemology of essence. This is strange, as, plausibly, what answers we give to the metaphysical questions about essence will (or should) be partially constrained by our essence epistemology. Here, I aim to go some way towards filling this lacuna. In particular, I here argue that there is no plausible epistemic story available for non-modal accounts of essence. In particular, (...)
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  12. Why Lewis Would Have Rejected Grounding.Fraser MacBride & Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2022 - In Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 66-91.
    We argue that Lewis would have rejected recent appeals to the notions of ‘metaphysical dependency’, ‘grounding’ and ‘ontological priority’, because he would have held that they’re not needed and they’re not intelligible. We argue our case by drawing upon Lewis’s views on supervenience, the metaphysics of singletons and the dubiousness of Kripke’s essentialism.
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  13. Aristotelian essentialism in David Lewis's theory.Cristina Nencha - 2022 - Philosophical Inquiries 10 (2):9-37.
    David Lewis is usually thought to reject what Quine called “Aristotelian essentialism”. The starting point of this paper is to define and explain Aristotelian essentialism and locate it in the context of the criticism that Quine made of quantified modal logic. Indeed, according to Quine, Aristotelian essentialism would be one of the consequences of accepting quantified modal logic. After having explained Lewis’s stance in the Quinean debate against quantified modal logic, this paper will deal with the question as to whether (...)
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  14. Science and Other Common Nouns: Further Implications of Anti‐Essentialism.J. B. Stump - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):782-791.
    The term “science” is a common noun that is used to designate a whole range of activities. If Reeves is right—and I think he is—that there is no essence to these activities that allows them to be objectively identified and demarcated from nonscience, then what qualifies as science is determined by communities. It becomes much more difficult on this antiessentialism position to identify and dismiss pseudo‐science. I suggest we might find a way forward, though, by engaging a philosophical tradition that (...)
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  15. The limits of neo‐aristotelian plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2019 - 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, (...)
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  16. Correction to: Linguistic convention and worldly fact: Prospects for a naturalist theory of the a priori.Brett Topey - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1753-1755.
    The original publication of the article contains two formatting errors, the second of which significantly inhibits readability.
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  17. 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 (...)
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  18. Culture or Biology? If this sounds interesting, you might be confused.Sebastian Watzl - 2019 - In Jaan Valsinger (ed.), Social Philosophy of Science for the Social Sciences. Springer. pp. 45-71.
    Culture or Biology? The question can seem deep and important. Yet, I argue in this chapter, if you are enthralled by questions about our biological differences, then you are probably confused. My goal is to diagnose the confusion. In debates about the role of biology in the social world it is easy to ask the wrong questions, and it is easy to misinterpret the scientific research. We are intuitively attracted to what is called psychological essentialism, and therefore interpret what is (...)
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  19. 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 (...)
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  20. 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 (...)
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  21. 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 (...)
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  22. 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.
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  23. 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 (...)
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  24. 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.
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  25. The Poverty of Essentialism in the Philosophy of Technology.Alireza Mansouri - 2016 - Journal of Methodology of Social Sciences and Humanities 85 (21):69-89.
    Essentialism is one of the common approaches in the philosophy of technology. Based on this approach, technology has an independent essence, and knowing technology requires knowing this essence. The present article aims to criticize essentialism in the philosophy of technology in the framework of critical rationalism. The paper argues that essentialism is inadequate because it leads to irrationalism and determinism and destroys any ground for reform and critical discussion about technology; instead, it recommends sudden and irrational changes. Secondly, it contains (...)
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  26. Not So Human, After All?Brendan Shea - 2016 - In Courtland Lewis & Kevin McCain (eds.), Red Rising and Philosophy. Chicago: 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 (...)
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  27. 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.
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  28. 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 (...)
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  29. 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 (...)
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  30. 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 (...)
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  31. 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 (...)
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  32. 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.
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  33. 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 (...)
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  34. 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.
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  35. The Construction of Logical Space.Agustín Rayo - 2013 - Oxford, England: 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.
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  36. Are Species Real?: An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    What are species? Are they objective features of the world? If so, what sort of features are they? Do everyday intuitions that species are real stand up to philosophical and scientific scrutiny? Two rival accounts of species' reality have dominated the discussion: that species are natural kinds defined by essential properties and that species are individuals. Unfortunately, neither account fully accommodates biological practice. In Are Species Real?, Slater presents a novel approach to this question aimed at accommodating the attractions to (...)
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  37. 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.
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  38. 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, (...)
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  39. Quine on Objects and De Re Modality.Antti Keskinen - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (2):4-17.
  40. Scientific enquiry and natural kinds: from planets to mallards.P. D. Magnus - 2012 - New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
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  41. Three ways of resisting essentialism about natural kinds.Bence Nanay - 2011 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving nature at its joints: natural kinds in metaphysics and science. Cambridge, MA, USA: 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 (...)
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  42. 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.
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  43. 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 - 2010 - 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.
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  44. 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 (...)
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  45. 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 ( (...)
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  46. 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 (...)
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  47. Essentialism and Reference to Kinds: Three issues in Penelope Mackie's How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties.Teresa Robertson - 2009 - Philosophical Books 50 (3):125-141.
  48. 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 (...)
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  49. Philosophical Investigations, 4th edition (trans. Hacker and Schulte).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by E. M. G., G. E. M. Anscombe, G. H. Translator: Anscombe von Wright & R. Rhees.
  50. Quantifying in and anti-essentialism.Michael Nelson - 2008 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of "on Denoting". London and New York: Routledge.
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