Contemporary (Analytic Tradition)

In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the history of the notion of essence in 20th century analytic philosophy, focusing on views held by influential analytic philosophers who discussed, or relied on essence or cognate notions in their works. It in particular covers Russell and Moore’s different approaches to essence before and after breaking with British idealism, the (pre- and post-)logical positivists’ critique of metaphysics and rejection of essence (Wittgenstein, Carnap, Schlick, Stebbing), the tendency to loosen the notion of logical necessity to accommodate certain metaphysical truths in Wittgenstein and others, Quine’s logical rehabilitation of metaphysics and criticism of de re modality, the modal view of essence promoted by the development of quantified modal logic (C. I. Lewis, Barcan Marcus, Kripke) and direct reference theory (Barcan Marcus, Kripke, Putnam), and the emergence of the notion of metaphysical necessity (Kneale, Kripke), and finally Fine’s re-establishment of a Neo-Aristotelian, hyperintensional notion of essence in contemporary metaphysics.

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Robert Michels
Universidade de Lisboa

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.

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