Authors
Andreas Ditter
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
What is the relation between metaphysical necessity and essence? This paper defends the view that the relation is one of identity: metaphysical necessity is a special case of essence. My argument consists in showing that the best joint theory of essence and metaphysical necessity is one in which metaphysical necessity is just a special case of essence. The argument is made against the backdrop of a novel, higher-order logic of essence (HLE), whose core features are introduced in the first part of the paper. The second part investigates the relation between metaphysical necessity and essence in the context of HLE. Reductive hypotheses are among the most natural hypotheses to be explored in the context of HLE. But they also have to be weighed against their nonreductive rivals. I investigate three different reductive hypotheses and argue that two of them fare better than their non-reductive rivals: they are simpler, more natural, and more systematic. Specifically, I argue that one candidate reduction, according to which metaphysical necessity is truth in virtue of the nature of all propositions, is superior to the others, including one proposed by Kit Fine, according to which metaphysical necessity is truth in virtue of the nature of all objects. The paper concludes by offering some reasons to think that the best joint theory of essence and metaphysical necessity is one in which the logic of metaphysical necessity includes S4, but not S5.
Keywords Essence  Metaphysical necessity  S4  S5  Higher-order logic  Modality
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References found in this work BETA

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
To Be F Is To Be G.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134.
The Construction of Logical Space.Agustin Rayo - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic.Saul A. Kripke - 1963 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 16:83-94.

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