Haecceitism

Edited by Sam Cowling (Denison University)
About this topic
Summary Some possibilities (e.g., the possibility that some objects are furry) are qualitative, because they involve properties but not specific objects. Other possibilities (e.g., the possibility that Napoleon is shorter than Bush) are non-qualitative, because they involve specific objects. According to haecceitism, some maximal possibilities--total ways things could be--differ only with respect to the non-qualitative possibilities they include. In terms of possible worlds, haecceitism is the thesis that some possible worlds differ only with respect to the distribution of non-qualitative properties like haecceities (e.g, Socrateity) and "impure properties" (e.g, being five feet from Socrates). Consider, for example, a world qualitatively indiscernible from actuality where you fail to exist or a world where you swap qualitative roles with Obama. Such worlds differ only haecceitistically from actuality and therefore entail haecceitism.
Key works Haecceitism has consequences for a broad range of issues in the metaphysics of modality and for the nature of properties, propositions, and many other entities. For an overview, see Cowling 2015. Key contributions to the discussion of haecceitism in modal metaphysics include Adams 1979 and Lewis 1986. Lewis' views on haeceitism and its accommodation within the framework of modal realism have been a topic of considerable interest. See, for example, Skow 2008 and Fara 2009. On haecceitism's role within physical theories, see Melia 1999 and Pooley 2005.
Introductions Lewis 1986 (Section 4.4) Cowling 2015
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  1. added 2018-10-03
    Background Independence: Lessons for Further Decades of Dispute.Trevor Teitel - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    Background independence begins life as an informal property that a physical theory might have, often glossed as 'doesn't posit a fixed spacetime background'. Interest in trying to offer a precise account of background independence has been sparked by the pronouncements of several theorists working on quantum gravity that background independence embodies in some sense an essential discovery of the General Theory of Relativity, and a feature we should strive to carry forward to future physical theories. This paper has two goals. (...)
  2. added 2018-07-27
    L'intentionnalité de Se Et le Problème de L'Individuation.Daniel Schulthess - 2006 - In P. Billouet, J. Gaubert, N. Robinet & A. Stanguennec (eds.), L'Homme et la réflexion - Actes du XXXe Congrès de l'Association des Sociétés de philosophie de langue française (ASPLF), Nantes, 24-28 août 2004. Paris: Vrin. pp. p. 367-371.
    Starting from an anecdote reported by Ernst Mach in the Analysis of Sensations, the author shows how the distinction between intentionality de re and intentionality de se can contribute to solving the individuation problem, at least for those individuals who are capable of self-referentiality. Intentionality is expressed linguistically in the form of the oratio obliqua, in the context of which the subordinate can be false even when the whole is true. The analysis of the conditions of falsity of the subordinate (...)
  3. added 2018-07-13
    There is No Haecceitic Euthyphro Problem.Alexander Skiles - forthcoming - Analysis:any061.
    Jason Bowers and Meg Wallace have recently argued that those who hold that every individual instantiates a ‘haecceity’ are caught up in a Euthyphro-style dilemma when confronted with familiar cases of fission and fusion. Key to Bowers and Wallace’s dilemma are certain assumptions about the nature of metaphysical explanation and the explanatory commitments of belief in haecceities. However, I argue that the dilemma only arises due to a failure to distinguish between providing a metaphysical explanation of why a fact holds (...)
  4. added 2018-06-11
    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 (...)
  5. added 2017-04-21
    Qualitative Grounds.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):309-348.
    Suppose that all non-qualitative facts are grounded in qualitative facts. I argue that this view naturally comes with a picture in which trans-world identity is indeterminate. But this in turn leads to either pervasive indeterminacy in the non-qualitative, or else contingency in what facts about modality and possible worlds are determinate.
  6. added 2017-04-21
    On Where Things Could Be.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):60-80.
    Some philosophers respond to Leibniz’s “shift” argument against absolute space by appealing to antihaecceitism about possible worlds, using David Lewis’s counterpart theory. But separated from Lewis’s distinctive system, it is difficult to understand what this doctrine amounts to or how it bears on the Leibnizian argument. In fact, the best way of making sense of the relevant kind of antihaecceitism concedes the main point of the Leibnizian argument, pressing us to consider alternative spatiotemporal metaphysics.
  7. added 2017-01-22
    Future Individuals and Haecceitism.Barry Miller - 1991 - Review of Metaphysics 45 (1):3 - 28.
  8. added 2017-01-16
    Conceivability Arguments for Haecceitism.Sam Cowling - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):4171-4190.
    According to haecceitism, some maximal possibilities differ even while they are qualitatively indiscernible. Since haecceitism is a modal thesis, it is typically defended by appeal to conceivability arguments. These arguments require us to conceive of qualitatively indiscernible possibilities that differ only with respect to the identity of the individuals involved. This paper examines a series of conceivability arguments for haecceitism and a variety of anti-haecceitist responses. It concludes that there is no irresistible conceivability argument for haecceitism even while anti-haecceitist responses (...)
  9. added 2017-01-14
    3. What Is Haecceitism, and Is It True?Robert Stalnaker - 2012 - In Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics. Princeton University Press. pp. 52-88.
  10. added 2016-12-08
    Dear Haecceitism.Delia Graff Fara - 2009 - Erkenntnis 70 (3):285–297.
    If a counterpart theorist’s understanding of the counterpart relation precludes haecceitist differences between possible worlds, as David Lewis’s does, how can he admit haecceitist possibilities, as Lewis wants to? Lewis (Philosophical Review 3–32, 1983; On the Plurality of Worlds, 1986) devised what he called a ‘cheap substitute for haecceitism,’ which would allow for haecceitist possibilities while preserving the counterpart relation as a purely qualitative one. The solution involved lifting an earlier (Journal of Philosophy 65(5):113–126, 1968; 68(7):203–211, 1971) ban on there (...)
  11. added 2016-12-08
    Reducing Reductionism: On a Putative Proof for Extreme Haecceitism.Troy Thomas Catterson - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (2):149-159.
    Nathan Salmon, in his paper Trans-World Identification and Stipulation (1996) purports to give a proof for the claim that facts concerning trans-world identity cannot be conceptually reduced to general facts. He calls this claim ‘Extreme Haecceitism.’ I argue that his proof is fallacious. However, I also contend that the analysis and ultimate rejection of his proof clarifies the fundamental issues that are at stake in the debate between the reductionist and haecceitist solutions to the problem of trans-world identity. These issues (...)
  12. added 2016-11-13
    Über die deskriptive Unerschöpflichkeit der Einzeldinge.Geert Keil - 2006 - In Geert Keil & Udo Tietz (eds.), Phänomenologie und Sprachanalyse. Mentis. pp. 83-125.
    Der Topos von der Unerschöpflichkeit des Gegenstands wird mit der Phänomenologie assoziiert. Den ihm verwandten Topos von der Unaussprechlichkeit des Individuellen haben Goethe und die deutschen Romantiker in die Welt getragen. Der Diktion der analytischen Philosophie sind die Ausdrücke „unerschöpflich“ und „unaussprechlich“ fremd. Dieser Umstand sollte analytische Philosophen nicht davon abhalten, sich den sprachphilosophischen und ontologischen Problemen zuzuwenden, die sich hinter den besagten Formeln verbergen. Husserls Wort für Unerschöpflichkeit ist „Fülle“. Die „Fülle des Gegenstandes“ erläutert Husserl als den „Inbegriff der (...)
  13. added 2016-05-25
    Leibnizian Rejection of Standard Thought Experiments Against Identity of Indiscernibles.Ari Maunu - 2015 - Metaphysica 16 (2):189-193.
    It is argued that from a genuine Leibnizian point of view the well-known thought experiment, call it BTE, involving a possible world with only two exactly similar objects, cannot be used to refute Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (LIdI). If the claim that there are two objects in BTE is based on primitive thisnesses, the Leibnizian objection is that there are no such things; and even if there were, then, quite generally, something true of one object – that (...)
  14. added 2015-10-16
    Identities, Distinctnesses, Truthmakers, and Indiscernibility Principles.Denis Robinson - 2000 - Logique Et Analyse 43 (169-170):145-183.
    After sketching some aspects of truthmaker doctrines and "truthmaker projects", and canvassing some prima facie objections to the latter, I turn to an issue which might seem to involve confusion about the nature of character of truthmakers if such there be, viz for statements of identity and (specially) distinctness. The real issue here is versions of the Identity of Indiscernibles. I discuss ways of discriminating versions, which are almost certainly true but trivial, which almost certainly substantive but false, and explore (...)
  15. added 2015-10-15
    Haecceitism.Sam Cowling - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  16. added 2015-09-25
    Possible Worlds and Identity.B. J. Garrett - 1986 - Philosophical Books 27 (2):65-72.
  17. added 2015-09-21
    How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties. [REVIEW]Sonia Roca-Royes - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (2):266-269.
  18. added 2015-09-04
    Identidad, Posibilidad y Esencia: Una paradoja.Carlos Romero - 2014 - In Lourdes Valdivia (ed.), La Identidad: su Semántica y su Metafísica. Una Aproximación Desde la Filosofía Analítica. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, UNAM. pp. 55-91.
    En este artículo discuto cómo es que la idea intuitiva de que las cosas podrían cambiar, combinada con principios excesivamente plausibles, nos lleva a la paradoja de Chisholm. Arguyo que la mejor respuesta a esta paradoja –pues efectúa la menor mutilación a nuestros principios teóricos y asunciones intuitivas– es la postura esencialista. Primero expongo algunas motivaciones para hacer una teoría metafísica que explique la modalidad de re. Luego reviso los principios a los que estaremos regresando en el curso del artículo. (...)
  19. added 2015-05-18
    Haecceitism, Anti-Haecceitism, and Possible Worlds: A Case Study.Brad Skow - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):97-107.
    Possible-worlds talk obscures, rather than clarifies, the debate about haecceitism. In this paper I distinguish haecceitism and anti-haecceitism from other doctrines that sometimes go under those names. Then I defend the claim that there are no non-tendentious definitions of ‘haecceitism’ and ‘anti-haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk. That is, any definition of ‘haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk depends, for its correctness, on a substantive theory of the nature of possible worlds. This explains why using possible-worlds talk when discussing haecceitism causes confusion: if the (...)
  20. added 2015-04-22
    Transworld Identity.Penelope Mackie - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  21. added 2015-04-22
    Individuals, Essence and Identity.P. Giaretta, Andrea Bottani & Massimiliano Carrara (eds.) - 2001 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  22. added 2015-04-22
    Individual Essences in Individuation.Olli Koistinen - 1993 - In Risto Hilpinen, Olli Koistinen & Juha Räikkä (eds.), Good Reason: Essays Dedicated to Risto Hilpinen. Turun Yliopisto. pp. 200--139.
  23. added 2015-04-22
    Identity-Statements and Essentialism.Michael J. Loux - 1970 - New Scholasticism 44 (3):431-439.
  24. added 2015-04-06
    Haecceity - an Ontological Essay - Rosenkrantz,Gs.E. J. Lowe - 1995 - Mind 104 (413):202--205.
  25. added 2015-04-03
    Putting Uninstantiated Human Person Essences to Work: A Comment on Davis and Craig on The Grounding Objection.Erik Baldwin - 2013 - Philosophia Christi 15 (2):221-225.
    In “Ducking Friendly Fire: Davison on the Grounding Objection”, William Lane Craig responds to a statement of The Grounding Objection articulated by Scott Davison in “Craig on the Grounding Objection to Middle Knowledge”. According to Davison, unless we have an explanation of true counterfactuals that makes reference to actual human persons in specific situations we lack an adequate explanation of how counterfactuals of creaturely freedom could possibly be true. Drawing from and elaborating on Edward Wierenga’s response to The Grounding Objection (...)
  26. added 2015-03-26
    Objects and Persons.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1979 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 7:317-388.
  27. added 2014-12-28
    Quantum Mechanics and Haecceities.Paul Teller - 1998 - In Elena Castellani (ed.), Interpreting Bodies. Princeton University Press. pp. 114--141.
  28. added 2014-11-03
    Modal Realism, Counterpart Theory, and Unactualized Possibilities.Joseph A. Baltimore - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1):209–217.
    It is a commonsense thesis that unactualized possibilities are not parts of actuality. To keep his modal realism in line with this thesis, David Lewis employed his indexical account of the term “actual.” I argue that the addition of counterpart theory to Lewis’s modal realism undermines his strategy for respecting the commonsense thesis. The case made here also reveals a problem for Lewis’s attempt to avoid haecceitism.
  29. added 2014-10-16
    Review. Interpreting Bodies: Classical and Quantum Objects in Modern Physics. E Castellani [Ed]. [REVIEW]Ej Lowe - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):353-355.
  30. added 2014-04-02
    Possible Worlds and the Objective World.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):389-422.
    David Lewis holds that a single possible world can provide more than one way things could be. But what are possible worlds good for if they come apart from ways things could be? We can make sense of this if we go in for a metaphysical understanding of what the world is. The world does not include everything that is the case—only the genuine facts. Understood this way, Lewis's “cheap haecceitism” amounts to a kind of metaphysical anti-haecceitism: it says there (...)
  31. added 2014-04-02
    Individual Essence: Gibt Es Solche? [REVIEW]Márta Ujvári - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):17-30.
    Two arguments are offered here for postulating individual essences of concrete individuals on top of their sortal essences. One is the explanatory gap argument, the other draws on the analogy with the individual essences of events presupposed in single causal explanations. These arguments support qualitative individual essences with explanatory goals as opposed to hybrid impure relational essences accounting for origin and numerical identity. It is highlighted why origin properties as parts of impure relational essences do not yield genuine de re (...)
  32. added 2014-04-02
    A Defense of Moderate Haecceitism.Gregg A. Ten Elshof - 2000 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 60 (1):55-74.
    The identity of indiscernibles is false. Robert Adams and others have argued that if the identity of indiscernibles is false, then primitive thisness must be admitted as a fundamental feature of the world (i.e. haecceitism is true). Moreover, it has been suggested that if haecceitism is true, then essentialism is false - that accounting for individuation by means of haecceities precludes a thing's having essential qualitative properties. I will argue that this suggestion is misguided. In so doing, I will be (...)
  33. added 2014-04-02
    De Essentia.Alvin Plantinga - 1979 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 7:101-121.
    In this paper I propose an amendment to Chisholm's definition of individual essence. I then argue that a thing has more than one individual essence and that there is no reason to believe no one grasps anyone else's essence. The remainder of the paper is devoted to a refutation of existentialism, the view that the essence of an object X (along with propositions and states of affairs directly about x) is ontologically dependent upon x in the sense that it could (...)
  34. added 2014-03-31
    Thisness and Time Travel.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1997 - Philosophia 25 (1-4):407-415.
  35. added 2014-03-26
    Non-Qualitative Properties.Sam Cowling - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):275-301.
    The distinction between qualitative properties like mass and shape and non-qualitative properties like being Napoleon and being next to Obama is important, but remains largely unexamined. After discussing its theoretical significance and cataloguing various kinds of non-qualitative properties, I survey several views about the nature of this distinction and argue that all proposed reductive analyses of this distinction are unsatisfactory. I then defend primitivism, according to which the distinction resists reductive analysis.
  36. added 2014-03-26
    Trans-World Identification and Stipulation.Nathan Salmon - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):203 - 223.
  37. added 2014-03-26
    Thisness.Richard Swinburne - 1995 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (3):389 – 400.
    The principle of the identity of indiscernibles holds that two individuals are the same individual if they have all the same properties. There are different forms of the principle, varying with what is allowed to count as a property. An individual has thisness if the weakest form of the principle does not apply to it. Abstract objects, places and times do not have thisness. Inanimate material objects probably do not. Animate beings, and the conscious events which involve them do have (...)
  38. added 2014-03-21
    Holes, Haecceitism and Two Conceptions of Determinism.J. Melia - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):639--64.
    In this paper I claim that Earman and Norton 's hole argument against substantivalist interpretations of General Relativity assumes that the substantivalist must adopt a conception of determinism which I argue is unsatisfactory. Butterfield and others have responded to the hole argument by finding a conception of determinism open to the substantivalist that is not prone to the hole argument. But, unfortunately for the substantivalist, I argue this conception also turns out to be unsatisfactory. Accordingly, I search for a conception (...)
  39. added 2014-03-17
    How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties.Penelope Mackie - 2006 - Published in the United States by Oxford University Press.
    Penelope Mackie's book is a novel treatment of an issue central to much current work in metaphysics: the distinction between the essential and accidental properties of individuals. Mackie challenges widely held views, and arrives at what she calls "minimalist essentialism," an unorthodox theory according to which ordinary individuals have relatively few interesting essential properties. Mackie's clear and accessible discussions of issues surrounding necessity and essentialism mean that the book will appeal as much to graduate students as it will to seasoned (...)
  40. added 2014-03-15
    On the Individual Essences of Moments of Time.Michelle Beer - 2007 - Philo 10 (1):69-71.
    In “Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time be Saved by Individual Essences?” Smith objects to the co-reporting theory on the groundsthat, since it grants that every time “now” is tokened it expresses a unique individual essence of that time which can be apprehended only at that time, the co-reporting theory is consistent with an A-theory of time that holds that each moment of time acquires its own particular property of presentness. I argue that Smith’s conclusion does not follow, since (...)
  41. added 2014-03-12
    How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties - by Penelope Mackie.Michael Hymers - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (1):67-68.
  42. added 2014-03-09
    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.
  43. added 2014-03-04
    Existentialism Entails Anti-Haecceitism.Kenneth Boyce - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):297-326.
    Existentialism concerning singular propositions is the thesis that singular propositions ontologically depend on the individuals they are directly about in such a way that necessarily, those propositions exist only if the individuals they are directly about exist. Haecceitism is the thesis that what non-qualitative facts there are fails to supervene on what purely qualitative facts there are. I argue that existentialism concerning singular propositions entails the denial of haecceitism and that this entailment has interesting implications for debates concerning the philosophy (...)
  44. added 2014-03-04
    Catnesses.Catherine Legg - 2008 - In Stephen D. Hales (ed.), What Philosophy Can Tell You about Your Dog. Carus.
    An introduction to cat metaphysics..........
  45. added 2014-02-10
    Moderate Anti-Haecceitism.Gary Legenhausen - 1989 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (4):625-642.
  46. added 2013-02-01
    Haecceitism, Chance, and Counterfactuals.B. Kment - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (4):573-609.
    Antihaecceitists believe that all facts about specific individuals—such as the fact that Fred exists, or that Katie is tall—globally supervene on purely qualitative facts. Haecceitists deny that. The issue is not only of interest in itself, but receives additional importance from its intimate connection to the question of whether all fundamental facts are qualitative or whether they include facts about which specific individuals there are and how qualitative properties and relations are distributed over them. Those who think that all fundamental (...)
  47. added 2013-02-01
    More on Haecceitism and Possible Worlds.Bradford Skow - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):267-269.
  48. added 2012-09-17
    Duns Scotus on Singular Essences.Peter King - 2005 - Medioevo 30:111-137.
    Socrates, for example, has an essence that includes more than his human nature, which is his specific essence; he has an essence proper to himself alone, an essence that cannot be had by anyone else. Although Socrates does have singular (individualized) forms, his singular essence is not a form—there is no form Socrateity for the singular essence parallelling the form humanity for the specific essence. Instead, Socrates has his singular essence in consequence of being an individual, that is, in consequence (...)
  49. added 2012-09-17
    Individual Essences.Michael Losonsky - 1987 - American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (3):253 - 260.
  50. added 2012-09-17
    Individual Essences and Possible Worlds.Robert C. Coburn - 1986 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 11 (1):165-183.
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