Essence in abundance

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):100-112 (2015)
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Abstract

Fine is widely thought to have refuted the simple modal account of essence, which takes the essential properties of a thing to be those it cannot exist without exemplifying. Yet, a number of philosophers have suggested resuscitating the simple modal account by appealing to distinctions akin to the distinction Lewis draws between sparse and abundant properties, treating only those in the former class as candidates for essentiality. I argue that ‘sparse modalism’ succumbs to counterexamples similar to those originally posed by Fine, and fails to capture paradigmatic instances of essence involving abundant properties and relations

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Alexander Skiles
Rutgers - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

In defence of modal essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
Formal Ontology.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
On how (not) to define modality in terms of essence.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1015-1033.
Essential vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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