Origin essentialism: The arguments reconsidered

Mind 109 (434):285-298 (2000)

Abstract

ln "Possibilities and the Arguments for Origin Essentialism" Teresa Robertson (1998) contends that the best-known arguments in favour of origin essentialism can succeed only at the cost of violating modal common sense—by denying that any variation in constitution or process of assembly is possible. Focusing on the (Kripke-style) arguments of Nathan Salmon and Graeme Forbes, Robertson shows that both founder in the face of sophisticated Ship of Theseus style considerations. While Robertson is right that neither of the arguments is compelling as formulated, each can be modified to fend off her particular counterexamples; these modifications do not differ in kind from those already needed to deal with ordinary Theseus cases, requiring only a further narrowing of the sufficiency clause from which the necessity of origins is derived.

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Author Profiles

John Hawthorne
Australian Catholic University
Tamar Gendler
Yale University

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Citations of this work

Essential Vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Essential Properties and Individual Essences.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (1):65-77.
Is the Macro Grounded in the Micro?Martin Glazier - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
Abduction and Modality.Stephen Biggs - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (2):283-326.
The Context of Essence.L. A. Paul - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):170.

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