Mind 130 (519):833-861 (2021)

Barbara Vetter
Freie Universität Berlin
According to essentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the essences of things, where the essence of a thing is roughly akin to its real definition. According to potentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the potentialities of things, where a potentiality is roughly the generalized notion of a disposition. Essentialism and potentialism have much in common, but little has been written about their relation to each other. The aim of this paper is to understand better the relations between essence and potentiality, on the one hand, and between essentialism and potentialism, on the other. It is argued, first, that essence and potentiality are not duals but interestingly linked by a weaker relation dubbed ‘semi-duality’; second, that given this weaker relation, essentialism and potentialism are not natural allies but rather natural competitors; and third, that the semi-duality of essence and potentiality allows the potentialist to respond to an important explanatory challenge by using essentialist resources without thereby committing to essentialism.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzaa049
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References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
Unified Foundations for Essence and Ground.Kit Fine - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):296-311.

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Citations of this work BETA

New Powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2020 - Synthese (ST: New Foundations for Disposit):1-30.
Plenitude and Necessarily Unmanifested Dispositions.Jonas Werner - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):169-177.
Essence and Necessity.Andreas Ditter - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic.

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