Essence, Potentiality, and Modality

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

Abstract

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 (also known as dispositionalism), 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.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,442

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
Essence and Being.Scott A. Shalkowski - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:49-63.
Metaphysics as the Science of Essence.E. J. Lowe - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, Sophie Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, and Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-34.
The Epistemology of Essence.Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110.
Essence and being.Scott A. Shalkowski - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:49-63.
In defence of modal essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
Real Essentialism.David S. Oderberg - 2007 - New York: Routledge.
Antirealist Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
Essence, modality, and intrinsicality.Gaétan Bovey - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7715-7737.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-12-04

Downloads
242 (#51,660)

6 months
45 (#30,436)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Barbara Vetter
Freie Universität Berlin

Citations of this work

Essence and Necessity.Andreas Ditter - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (3):653-690.
New powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2022 - Synthese 200 (384):1-30.
Plenitude and necessarily unmanifested dispositions.Jonas Werner - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):169-177.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

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.
Real Definition.Gideon Rosen - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (3):189-209.

View all 36 references / Add more references