De Re Modality, Misc

Edited by Alessandro Torza (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
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Summary This category contains entries on Essentialism and De Re Modality which are not relevant to any other of its subcategories.
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161 found
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  1. Dispositions and Ethics.Rani Lill Anjum, Svein Anders Noer Lie & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    What is the connection between dispositions and ethics? Some might think very little and those who are interested in dispositions tend to be metaphysicians whose interests are far from value. However, we argue in this paper that dispositions and dispositionality are central to ethics, indeed a precondition. Ethics rests on a number of notions that are either dispositional in nature or involve real dispositions or powers at work. We argue for a dispositional account of value that offers an alternative to (...)
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  2. Dispositionality, Categoricity, and Where to Find Them.Lorenzo Azzano - forthcoming - Synthese:1-28.
    Discussions about dispositional and categorical properties have become commonplace in metaphysics. Unfortunately, dispositionality and categoricity are disputed notions: usual characterizations are piecemeal and not widely applicable, thus threatening to make agreements and disagreements on the matter merely verbal—and also making it arduous to map a logical space of positions about dispositional and categorical properties in which all parties can comfortably fit. This paper offers a prescription for this important difficulty, or at least an inkling thereof. This will be achieved by (...)
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  3. Spinoza on the Essences of Singular Things.Sebastian Bender - forthcoming - Ergo.
    Essences play a central role in Spinoza’s philosophy, not only in his metaphysics, but also in his philosophy of mind, his theory of affects, and his political philosophy. Despite their importance, however, it is surprisingly difficult to determine what exactly essences are for Spinoza. On a widespread reading, the essence of X is nothing but the concept of X. This paper argues against this identification of essences and concepts. Spinozistic concepts are maximally inclusive: the concept of X contains everything that (...)
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  4. Meaning and Definition: Scepticism and Semantics in Twelfth‐Century Arabic Philosophy.Fedor Benevich - forthcoming - Theoria.
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  5. Social Kinds Are Essentially Mind-Dependent.Rebecca Mason - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    I defend a novel view of how social kinds (e.g., money, women, permanent residents) depend on our mental states. In particular, I argue that social kinds depend on our mental states in the following sense: it is essential to them that they exist (partially) because certain mental states exist. This analysis is meant to capture the very general way in which all social kinds depend on our mental states. However, my view is that particular social kinds also depend on our (...)
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  6. Overcoming the Modal/Amodal Dichotomy of Concepts.Christian Michel - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.
    The debate about the nature of the representational format of concepts seems to have reached an impasse. The debate faces two fundamental problems. Firstly, amodalists and modalists claim that the same empirical evidence is compatible with their views. Secondly, there is no shared understanding of what a modal or amodal format amounts to. Both camps recognize that the two formats play essential roles in higher cognition, leading to an increasing number of hybrid proposals. In this paper, I argue that the (...)
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  7. Part, Slot, Ground: Foundations for Neo-Aristotelian Mereology.Thomas Sattig - forthcoming - Synthese:1-15.
    Slot mereology reduces parthood to slot-filling: a material object is structured by a certain arrangement of slots; and the fillers of these slots are the object's proper parts. My aim in this essay is to go further and reduce slot-filling to essence and grounding. In combination, the reduction of parthood to slot-filling and the reduction of slot-filling to essence and grounding yields the reduction of parthood to essence and grounding. If this overarching reduction succeeds, it promises new metaphysical foundations for (...)
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  8. Does God Know the Occurrence of a Change Among Particulars? Avicenna and the Problem of God’s Knowledge of Change.Amirhossein Zadyousefi - forthcoming - Dialogue:1-32.
    (i) God is omniscient; therefore, for any change, C, among particulars, God knows the occurrence of C. (ii) If God knows the occurrence of C, then X. (iii) not-X. It is clear that the set of propositions (i)—(iii) is inconsistent. This is the general form of two problems—which I call the ‘problem of change in knowledge’ (PCK) and the ‘problem of change in essence’ (PCE)—for Avicenna concerning God’s knowledge of particulars. No work in the secondary literature has discussed exactly what (...)
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  9. Defending Intrinsic Biological Essentialism.Michael Devitt - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (1):67-82.
    In “Resurrecting Biological Essentialism,” I went against the consensus in the philosophy of biology by arguing that a Linnaean taxon, including a species, has an essence that is, at least partly,...
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  10. Two Sorts of Constitutivism.Jeremy David Fix - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (1):1-20.
    Some things, but only some things, are by nature subject to standards. Why? I explain and develop what I call nature-first constitutivism, which says that what something is determines what it should be. Nature is the basis of normativity. I explain this view in terms of a unique type of property which particulars of a genus can lack even though those properties partially determines the nature of the genus. Such properties partially describe the nature of a genus and are thereby (...)
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  11. Can Essence Provide Knowledge of Metaphysical Necessity? A Reply to Jago.Benjamin L. Curtis - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):931-933.
    In this paper I argue against Mark Jago’s recent suggestion that ordinary knowers can move from knowledge of essence to knowledge of metaphysical necessity.
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  12. Are Reference Rules Inessential to Meaning?Kirk Ludwig - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):92-102.
    This article responds to a case-based argument by Mark Richard that rule of reference is not essential to meaning. It objects that the argument requires shifting between understanding the relevant term in the case, ‘marriage,’ as a determinable, in order to support one premise, and a determinate, in order to support another. On no univocal interpretation can both premises be made true.
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  13. Is Reference Essential to Meaning?Mark Richard - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):68-80.
    Most linguists and philosophers will tell you that whatever meaning is, it determines the reference of names, the satisfaction conditions of nouns and verbs, the truth conditions of sentences; in linguist speak, meaning determines semantic value. So a change in semantic value implies a change in meaning. So the semantic value a meaning determines is essential to that meaning: holding contributions from context constant, if two words have different semantic values they cannot mean the same thing. If this is correct, (...)
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  14. On What (In General) Grounds What.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Metaphysics 2 (1):73-87.
    A generic grounding claim is a grounding claim that isn’t about any particular entity or fact. For example, consider the claim: an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. One natural idea is that generic grounding claims state mere regularities of ground. So if an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness, then every possible right act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. The generic claim generalizes over particular grounding relations. In this essay, I argue that this (...)
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  15. The World Is a Necessary Being.Chad Vance - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):377-390.
    A standard conception of metaphysical modality accepts that Some de re modal claims are true, These should be understood in terms of a possible worlds semantics, and There is trans-world identity. For instance, it seems true that Humphrey could have won the election. In possible worlds speak, we say that there exists a possible world where Humphrey wins the election. Furthermore, had that possibility been actualized instead of this one, Humphrey—our Humphrey, the very same man—would still have existed. Here, I (...)
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  16. 'On a Supposed Puzzle Concerning Modality and Existence'.Thomas Atkinson, Daniel J. Hill & Stephen K. McLeod - 2019 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 26 (3):446-473.
    Kit Fine has proposed a new solution to what he calls ‘a familiar puzzle’ concerning modality and existence. The puzzle concerns the argument from the alleged truths ‘It is necessary that Socrates is a man’ and ‘It is possible that Socrates does not exist’ to the apparent falsehood ‘It is possible that Socrates is a man and does not exist’. We discuss in detail Fine’s setting up of the ‘puzzle’ and his rejection, with which we concur, of two mooted solutions (...)
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  17. Metaphysical Constraints, Primitivism, and Reduction.Michael Bertrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):503-521.
    The argument from absence of analysis infers primitivism about some x from the absence of a reductive analysis of x. But philosophers use the word ‘primitive’ to mean many distinct things. I argue that there is a robust sense of ‘primitive’ present in the metaphysics literature that cannot be inferred via the AAA. Successfully demonstrating robust primitivism about some x requires showing two things at once: that a reduction of x is not possible and that an explanatorily deep characterization of (...)
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  18. On Essential Structures and Symmetries.Tomasz Bigaj - 2019 - In Bartłomiej Skowron (ed.), Contemporary Polish Ontology. De Gruyter. pp. 1-24.
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  19. Existence and Essence in Mulla Sadra’s Ontology.Muhammad Kamal - 2019 - Philosophy Study 9 (7).
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  20. Esencjalizm, antyhaecceityzm i haecceityzm.Karol Lenart - 2019 - Hybris 44 (1):131-151.
    A standard contemporary formulation of essentialism defines essential properties with a help of a concept of possible worlds. It is often argued that in order to use possible worlds effectively, facts about transworld identity of individuals need to be determined. In this paper I discuss how essentialist might attempt the issue of transworld identity of individuals. Specifically, I analyze a connection between essentialism and the two theories that explain the transworld identity issue, that is, haecceitism and antihaecceitism. I provide a (...)
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  21. In Virtue Of: Determination, Dependence, and Metaphysically Opaque Grounding.Henrik Rydéhn - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This dissertation investigates grounding, the relation of non-causal determination whereby one fact obtains in virtue of some other fact or facts. Although considerations of grounding have been central throughout Western philosophy, the last 15-20 years have seen a renaissance of systematic work on grounding in analytic philosophy. The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of the nature of grounding and its relation to other central phenomena in metaphysics. -/- Chapter 1 of the dissertation provides a brief (...)
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  22. The Essences of Fundamental Properties.Jennifer Wang - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):40-54.
    There is a puzzle concerning the essences of fundamental entities that arises from considerations about essence, on one hand, and fundamentality, on the other. The Essence-Dependence Link (EDL) says that if x figures in the essence of y, then y is dependent upon x. EDL is prima facie plausible in many cases, especially those involving derivative entities. But consider the property negative charge. A negatively charged object exhibits certain behaviors that a positively charged object does not: it moves away from (...)
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  23. 4. Individual Essence and the Creation.Linda Zagzebski - 2019 - In Thomas V. Morris (ed.), Divine and Human Action: Essays in the Metaphysics of Theism. Cornell University Press. pp. 119-144.
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  24. The Haecceitic Euthyphro Problem.Jason Bowers & Meg Wallace - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):13-22.
    Haecceitism is the thesis that, necessarily, in addition to its qualities, each thing has a haecceity or individual essence. The purpose of this paper is to expose a flaw in haecceitism: it entails that familiar cases of fission and fusion either admit of no explanation or else only admit of explanations too bizarre to warrant serious consideration. Because the explanatory problem we raise for haecceitism closely resembles the Euthyphro problem for divine command theory, we refer to our objection as the (...)
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  25. Essence and Modal Knowledge.Boris Kment - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1957-1979.
    During the last quarter of a century, a number of philosophers have become attracted to the idea that necessity can be analyzed in terms of a hyperintensional notion of essence. One challenge for proponents of this view is to give a plausible explanation of our modal knowledge. The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for meeting this challenge. My approach rests on an account of modality that I developed in previous work, and which analyzes modal properties in (...)
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  26. On the Essence of Empty Properties.Miloš Kosterec - 2018 - Synthese (1):1-17.
    This paper deals with generalisations of modally based criteria for determining whether a given property is essential to an individual to the case of generic essences. These criteria usually presuppose extensionally individuated properties. The limitations of their generalisations are demonstrated using the case of the necessarily empty individual property and the necessarily empty individual office. I do not present a novel stance on the discussion of individual essences. The novelty of this paper lies in its claim that none of these (...)
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  27. The Space of Possibilities of Dispositional Essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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  28. God From God: The Essential Dependence Model of Eternal Generation.Mark Makin - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (3):377-394.
    According to the doctrine of eternal generation, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father. Although the doctrine is enshrined in the Creed of Nicaea and has been affirmed by Christians for nearly 17,000 years, many Protestants have recently rejected the doctrine. Eternal generation, its detractors contend, is both philosophically and theologically suspect. In this article, I propose a model of eternal generation and demonstrate how it avoids standard philosophical and theological objections. Eternal generation, I argue, can be understood as (...)
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  29. Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  30. Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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  31. Finean Essence, Local Necessity, and Pure Logical Properties.Hashem Morvarid - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4997-5005.
    Since Kit Fine published his famous counter-examples to the modal account of essence, numerous modalists have proposed to avoid the counter-examples by revising the modal account. A sophisticated revision has been put forward by Fabrice Correia. Drawing on themes from Prior’s modality, Correia has introduced a nonstandard conception of metaphysical modality and has proposed to analyze essence in its terms. He has claimed that the analysis is immune to Fine’s counter-examples. In this paper, I argue that there are counter-examples supported (...)
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  32. Constitutive Essence and Partial Grounding.Eileen S. Nutting, Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):137-161.
    Kit Fine and Gideon Rosen propose to define constitutive essence in terms of ground-theoretic notions and some form of consequential essence. But we think that the Fine–Rosen proposal is a mistake. On the Fine–Rosen proposal, constitutive essence ends up including properties that, on the central notion of essence, are necessary but not essential. This is because consequential essence is closed under logical consequence, and the ability of logical consequence to add properties to an object’s consequential essence outstrips the ability of (...)
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  33. How the Modalities Come Into the World.Wolfgang Spohn - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (1):89-112.
    The modalities come into the world by being projections or objectivizations of our epistemic constitution. Thus this paper is a statement of Humean projectivism. In fact, it goes beyond Simon Blackburn’s version. It is also designed as a comprehensive counter-program to David Lewis’ program of Humean supervenience. In detail, the paper explains: Already the basic fact that the world is a world of states of affairs is due to the nature of our epistemic states. Objects, which figure in states of (...)
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  34. The Epistemology of Essence.Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110.
    The epistemology of essence is a topic that has received relatively little attention, although there are signs that this is changing. The lack of literature engaging directly with the topic is probably 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 especially for those, like E.J. Lowe, who are committed to a broadly Aristotelian conception of essence, whereby essence (...)
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  35. The metaphysical postulates of modern physics, which should be abandoned.Vlad Terekhovich - 2018 - Metaphyzik (Metaphysics) 27 (1):78-84.
    In the article, I consider seven metaphysical postulates that lie in the foundations of modern physics. These are postulates: about the nature of space-time, about the existence, about the direction of time, about the causality, about the elementary event, about the nature of information and about the immutability of laws. The directions of critical analysis and possible radical revision of these postulates are briefly presented. It is supposed that this revision can indirectly contribute to the development of a theory that (...)
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  36. Metaphysics of the Principle of Least Action.Vladislav Terekhovich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:189-201.
    Despite the importance of the variational principles of physics, there have been relatively few attempts to consider them for a realistic framework. In addition to the old teleological question, this paper continues the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the principle of least action and its relations with the Humean view of the laws of nature. The reality of possible paths in the principle of least action is examined from the perspectives of the contemporary metaphysics of modality and Leibniz's (...)
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  37. The Ground of Ground, Essence, and Explanation.Michael Wallner - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 6):1257-1277.
    This paper is about the so-called meta-grounding question, i.e. the question of what grounds grounding facts of the sort ‘ϕ is grounded in Γ’. An answer to this question is pressing since some plausible assumptions about grounding and fundamentality entail that grounding facts must be grounded. There are three different accounts on the market which each answer the meta-grounding question differently: Bennett’s and deRosset’s “Straight Forward Account”, Litland’s “Zero-Grounding Account”, and “Grounding Essentialism”. I argue that if grounding is to be (...)
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  38. Is There Such a Thing as Relative Analyticity?Kai Michael Büttner - 2017 - Ratio 30 (1):47-56.
    Fine bases his influential conception of essence on a particular account of definitions. And he complements it with a specific account of analyticity. I will argue that Fine's conception of relative analyticity confuses the idea of a sentence's being true in virtue of a term's definition with the idea of a sentence's being true in virtue of a term's meaning. His idea that correct definitions specify essential properties of meanings is mistaken. The correctness of definitions can only be assessed by (...)
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  39. Francisco Suárez on Eternal Truths, Eternal Essences, and Extrinsic Being.Brian Embry - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    It is necessarily true that water is H2O, but it is a contingent fact that there is any water at all. Water therefore seems ill suited to ground the necessary truth that water is H2O. One view traditionally attributed to Scotus and Henry of Ghent was that while water is contingent, the essence of water is necessary; hence, the essence of water can ground the so-called eternal truth that water is H2O. Francisco Suárez rejects this view on the grounds that (...)
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  40. Essentialist Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2871-2889.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in metaphysical explanation, and philosophers have fixed on the notion of ground as the conceptual tool with which such explanation should be investigated. I will argue that this focus on ground is myopic and that some metaphysical explanations that involve the essences of things cannot be understood in terms of ground. Such ‘essentialist’ explanation is of interest, not only for its ubiquity in philosophy, but for its being in a sense an ultimate (...)
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  41. 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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  42. Naturalised Modal Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In R. Fischer & F. Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 7-27.
    The philosophy of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this (...)
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  43. Being, Freedom, & Method: Themes From the Philosophy of Peter van Inwagen. [REVIEW]Timothy Pawl - 2017 - Review of Metaphysics 71 (3).
  44. Boring Ontological Realism.Meghan Sullivan - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):399-413.
    Boring ontological realists hold that objects exist at times and persist over time without having substantive essences. Boring realism is a consequence of the minimal A-theory of time and the most sensible formulations of necessitism. This kind of realism is at odds with a ubiquitous realist thesis, which I call the persistenceessence link. This essay surveys some examples of the persistence-essence link and argues that it is best understood as a thesis about grounding. If we understand the link in terms (...)
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  45. Explanation and Individual Essence.Márta Ujvári - 2017 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 13 (2):23-42.
    In this paper I show that a novel ontic reading of explanation, intending to capture the de re essential features of individuals, can support the qualitative view of individual essences. It is argued further that the putative harmful consequences of the Leibniz Principle and its converse for the qualitative view can be avoided, provided that individual essences are not construed in the style of the naïve bundle theory with set-theoretical identity- conditions. Adopting either the more sophisticated two-tier BT or, alternatively, (...)
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  46. Ersatz Counterparts.Richard Woodward - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10.
    Counterpart theory has many benefits, but few are happy to accept the metaphysical setting in which this account of de re modality was developed by its architect, David Lewis. I argue here that counterpart theory can be made acceptable by the lights of those who repudiate the existence of merely possible objects. To the "ersatz" counterpart theorist I offer two stories: one about the relate of the counterpart relation and one about the relation itself. With these in place, I then (...)
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  47. Essence, Application, and Explanation.Fredrik Haraldsen - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (2):179-189.
    It is often thought that a notion of general term rigidity could help explain the particular behavior of natural kind terms in modal contexts. An influential strategy for developing a non-trivial account of general term rigidity appeals to essential properties of the things to which such terms apply. I show that essentialism cannot underpin a notion of rigidity that can play the expected explanatory roles. Essentialists are committed to presuppositions that themselves play those roles without implying essentialism.
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  48. Modal Realism, Still At Your Convenience.Mark Jago & Harold Noonan - 2016 - Analysis:anx037.
    Divers (2014) presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
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  49. Is Knowledge of Essence Required for Thinking About Something?Daniele Sgaravatti - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (2):217-228.
    Lowe claims that having knowledge of the essence of an object is a precondition for thinking about it. Lowe supports this claim with roughly the following argument: you cannot think about something unless you know what you are thinking about; and to know what it is that you are thinking about just is to know its essence. I will argue that this line of reasoning fails because of an equivocation in the expression ‘what a thing is’, which can be used (...)
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  50. In Defense of the Disjunctive.Alexander Skiles - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (5):471-487.
    Are there any disjunctive properties—features of things such as being either red or round, or Nelson Goodman’s infamous example of being grue? As esoteric as the question may seem at first, central issues about the metaphysics of properties hinge upon its answer, such as whether reductive views about special science properties can handle the phenomenon of multiple realizability. A familiar argument for a negative answer is that disjunctive properties fail to guarantee that their instances are similar in some genuine respect. (...)
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