Against the reduction of modality to essence

Synthese (Suppl 6):1-17 (2018)
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Abstract

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally ‘loaded’—that together strongly call into question the possibility of reducing modality to essence.

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Nathan Wildman
Tilburg University

Citations of this work

Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
Knowing how things might have been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-19.
Essence and Necessity.Andreas Ditter - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (3):653-690.

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References found in this work

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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