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  1. Essence, Modality and Identity.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Many metaphysicians maintain that there is a close connection between essence and modality; if an object a necessarily bears property F , then it is metaphysically necessary that Fa (or, perhaps, it is metaphysically necessary that Fa if a exists). Recently, Leech (Forthcoming) has argued that this connection lacks an adequate explanation. In particular, she argues that identity doesn't explain the link between essence and modality. In contrast, I argue that identity provides the resources to undermine Leech’s explanatory demand.
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  2. On Explaining Necessity by the Essence of Essence.Carlos Romero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    There has been much debate recently on the question whether essence can explain modality. Here, I examine two routes to an essentialist account of modality. The first is Hale's argument for the necessity of essence, which I will argue is — notwithstanding recent attempted defences of it — invalid by its very structure. The second is the proposal that it is essential to essential truth that it is necessary. After offering three possible versions of the view, I will argue that (...)
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  3. Modal Conceptions of Essence.Alessandro Torza - forthcoming - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
    Philosophers distinguish between having a property essentially and having it accidentally. The way the distinction has been drawn suggests that it is modal in character, and so that it can be captured in terms of necessity, or cognate notions. The present chapter takes the suggestion at face value by considering a number of modal characterizations of the essential/accidental distinction that have been articulated and discussed since the early 20th century, as well as some of the challenges that they face.
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  4. Counterfactual Similarity, Nomic Indiscernibility, and the Paradox of Quidditism.Andrew D. Bassford & C. Daniel Dolson - 2024 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 67 (1):230-261.
    Aristotle is essentially human; that is, for all possible worlds metaphysically consistent with our own, if Aristotle exists, then he is human. This is a claim about the essential property of an object. The claim that objects have essential properties has been hotly disputed, but for present purposes, we can bracket that issue. In this essay, we are interested, rather, in the question of whether properties themselves have essential properties (or features) for their existence. We call those who suppose they (...)
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  5. Are there iterated essentialist truths?Andreas Ditter - 2023 - Analysis 84 (1):3-12.
    Let an iterated essentialist statement be a statement of the form 'It lies in the nature of x1,x2,... that it lies in the nature of y1,y2,... that φ'. Let Iteration be the thesis that there are true iterated essentialist statements. Iteration has recently been disputed by Dasgupta (2014) and Glazier (2017). Both authors take the falsity of Iteration to be central to the explanatory role of essentialist truths. An important consequence that is not explicitly noted by them is that the (...)
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  6. Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons from Barcan.Andrew Stephenson - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (1):1-41.
    This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, (...)
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  7. Essence and Necessity.Andreas Ditter - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (3):653-690.
    What is the relation between metaphysical necessity and essence? This paper defends the view that the relation is one of identity: metaphysical necessity is a special case of essence. My argument consists in showing that the best joint theory of essence and metaphysical necessity is one in which metaphysical necessity is just a special case of essence. The argument is made against the backdrop of a novel, higher-order logic of essence, whose core features are introduced in the first part of (...)
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  8. Modal Paradox II: Essence and Coherence.Nathan Salmón - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3237-3250.
    Paradoxes of nested modality, like Chisholm’s paradox, rely on S4 or something stronger as the propositional logic of metaphysical modality. Sarah-Jane Leslie’s objection to the resolution of Chisholm’s paradox by means of rejection of S4 modal logic is investigated. A modal notion of essence congenial to Leslie’s objection is clarified. An argument is presented in support of Leslie’s crucial but unsupported assertion that, on pain of inconsistency, an object’s essence is the same in every possible world. A fallacy in the (...)
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  9. The epistemology of modality and the problem of modal epistemic friction.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Michael Wallner - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1909-1935.
    There are three theories in the epistemology of modality that have received sustained attention over the past 20 years: conceivability-theory, counterfactual-theory, and deduction-theory. In this paper we argue that all three face what we call the problem of modal epistemic friction. One consequence of the problem is that for any of the three accounts to yield modal knowledge, the account must provide an epistemology of essence. We discuss an attempt to fend off the problem within the context of the internalism (...)
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  10. A Little Puzzle about a Piece and a Puddle.Mahrad Almotahari - 2020 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 12. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 231-261.
    A new puzzle about material constitution is presented and its implications are discussed. The moral of the story is that familiar intuitions supporting a neo-Aristotelian view of the material world are contradictory. To accommodate these intuitions is to embrace inconsistency. Therefore, neo-Aristotelianism is worse off for its intuitive appeal. Furthermore, the puzzle is used to argue for an account of ordinary modal thought and language that’s reconstructive, or ameliorative.
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  11. A Response to Chisholm’s Paradox.Andrew Dennis Bassford - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (4):1137-1155.
    Essentialists suppose that for every individual, if that individual exists at any possible world, then necessarily that individual exemplifies some non-trivial qualitative property essential to it, as such. Anti-essentialists deny this. One important argument leveled by some anti-essentialists against essentialism takes the form of a thought experiment, one originally introduced by Roderick Chisholm, sometimes referred to as Chisholm's Paradox (CP). In this essay, I defend essentialism against CP. I begin by presenting the argument and showing how it leads to a (...)
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  12. Spinozian Model Theory.Justin Bledin & Yitzhak Y. Melamed - 2020 - Advances in Modern Logic 13:133-147.
    his paper is an excerpt from a larger project that aims to open a new pathway into Spinoza's Ethics by formally reconstructing an initial fragment of this text. The semantic backbone of the project is a custom-made Spinozian model theory that lays out some of the formal prerequisites for more ne-grained investigations into Spinoza's fundamental ontology and modal metaphysics. We implement Spinoza's theory of attributes using many-sorted models with a rich system of identity that allows us to clarify the puzzling (...)
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  13. A Modal Account of Essence.Michael De - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):17-32.
    According to the simple modal account of essence, an object has a property essentially just in case it has it in every world in which it exists. As many have observed, the simple modal account is implausible for a number of reasons. This has led to various proposals for strengthening the account, for example, by adding a restriction to the intrinsic or sparse properties. I argue, however, that these amendments to the simple modal account themselves fail. Drawing on lessons from (...)
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  14. The Reduction of Necessity to Essence.Andreas Ditter - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):351-380.
    In `Essence and Modality', Kit Fine proposes that for a proposition to be metaphysically necessary is for it to be true in virtue of the nature of all objects whatsoever. Call this view Fine's Thesis. This paper is a study of Fine's Thesis in the context of Fine's logic of essence (LE). Fine himself has offered his most elaborate defense of the thesis in the context of LE. His defense rests on the widely shared assumption that metaphysical necessity obeys the (...)
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  15. A Classical Logic of Existence and Essence.Sergio Galvan & Alessandro Giordani - 2020 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 29 (4):541-570.
    The purpose of this paper is to provide a new system of logic for existence and essence, in which the traditional distinctions between essential and accidental properties, abstract and concrete objects, and actually existent and possibly existent objects are described and related in a suitable way. In order to accomplish this task, a primitive relation of essential identity between different objects is introduced and connected to a first order existence property and a first order abstractness property. The basic idea is (...)
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  16. In Defense of the Possibilism–Actualism Distinction.Christopher Menzel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1971-1997.
    In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them wanting and show, moreover, that, when the N-C (...)
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  17. Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
    Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustín Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with antecedently plausible (...)
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  18. On how (not) to define modality in terms of essence.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1015-1033.
    In his influential article ‘Essence and Modality’, Fine proposes a definition of necessity in terms of the primitive essentialist notion ‘true in virtue of the nature of’. Fine’s proposal is suggestive, but it admits of different interpretations, leaving it unsettled what the precise formulation of an Essentialist definition of necessity should be. In this paper, four different versions of the definition are discussed: a singular, a plural reading, and an existential variant of Fine’s original suggestion and an alternative version proposed (...)
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  19. Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  20. Contingent Existence and the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):39-68.
    This paper first argues that we can bring out a tension between the following three popular doctrines: (i) the canonical reduction of metaphysical modality to essence, due to Fine, (ii) contingentism, which says that possibly something could have failed to be something, and (iii) the doctrine that metaphysical modality obeys the modal logic S5. After presenting two such arguments (one from the theorems of S4 and another from the theorems of B), I turn to exploring various conclusions we might draw (...)
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  21. Essential bundle theory and modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
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  22. Knowing how things might have been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-19.
    I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...)
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  23. Modeling Unicorns and Dead Cats: Applying Bressan’s ML ν to the Necessary Properties of Non-existent Objects.Tyke Nunez - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (1):95–121.
    Should objects count as necessarily having certain properties, despite their not having those properties when they do not exist? For example, should a cat that passes out of existence, and so no longer is a cat, nonetheless count as necessarily being a cat? In this essay I examine different ways of adapting Aldo Bressan’s MLν so that it can accommodate an affirmative answer to these questions. Anil Gupta, in The Logic of Common Nouns, creates a number of languages that have (...)
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  24. Contingent Existence and Iterated Modality.Cian Dorr - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):155-165.
    A discussion of a view, defended by Robert Adams and Boris Kment, according to which contingent existence requires rejecting many standard principles of propositional modal logic involving iterated modal operators.
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  25. Priority monism.Kelly Trogdon - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):1-10.
    Argument that priority monism is best understood as being a contingent thesis.
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  26. Modal science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
    This paper explains and defends the idea that metaphysical necessity is the strongest kind of objective necessity. Plausible closure conditions on the family of objective modalities are shown to entail that the logic of metaphysical necessity is S5. Evidence is provided that some objective modalities are studied in the natural sciences. In particular, the modal assumptions implicit in physical applications of dynamical systems theory are made explicit by using such systems to define models of a modal temporal logic. Those assumptions (...)
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  27. Logic, Essence, and Modality — Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Christopher Menzel - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (3):407-428.
    Bob Hale’s distinguished record of research places him among the most important and influential contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In his deep, wide ranging, yet highly readable book Necessary Beings, Hale draws upon, but substantially integrates and extends, a good deal his past research to produce a sustained and richly textured essay on — as promised in the subtitle — ontology, modality, and the relations between them. I’ve set myself two tasks in this review: first, to provide a reasonably thorough (if not (...)
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  28. Automating Leibniz’s Theory of Concepts.Paul Edward Oppenheimer, Jesse Alama & Edward N. Zalta - 2015 - In Amy P. Felty & Aart Middeldorp (eds.), Automated Deduction – CADE 25: Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Automated Deduction (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence: Volume 9195), Berlin: Springer. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 73-97.
    Our computational metaphysics group describes its use of automated reasoning tools to study Leibniz’s theory of concepts. We start with a reconstruction of Leibniz’s theory within the theory of abstract objects (henceforth ‘object theory’). Leibniz’s theory of concepts, under this reconstruction, has a non-modal algebra of concepts, a concept-containment theory of truth, and a modal metaphysics of complete individual concepts. We show how the object-theoretic reconstruction of these components of Leibniz’s theory can be represented for investigation by means of automated (...)
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  29. A New Semantics for Systems of Logic of Essence.Alessandro Giordani - 2014 - Studia Logica 102 (3):411-440.
    The purpose of the present paper is to provide a way of understanding systems of logic of essence by introducing a new semantic framework for them. Three central results are achieved: first, the now standard Fitting semantics for the propositional logic of evidence is adapted in order to provide a new, simplified semantics for the propositional logic of essence; secondly, we show how it is possible to construe the concept of necessary truth explicitly by using the concept of essential truth; (...)
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  30. Identidad, Posibilidad y Esencia: Una paradoja.Carlos Romero - 2014 - In Lourdes Valdivia (ed.), La Identidad: su Semántica y su Metafísica. Una Aproximación Desde la Filosofía Analítica. Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, UNAM. pp. 55-91.
    En este artículo discuto cómo es que la idea intuitiva de que las cosas podrían cambiar, combinada con principios excesivamente plausibles, nos lleva a la paradoja de Chisholm. Arguyo que la mejor respuesta a esta paradoja –pues efectúa la menor mutilación a nuestros principios teóricos y asunciones intuitivas– es la postura esencialista. Primero expongo algunas motivaciones para hacer una teoría metafísica que explique la modalidad de re. Luego reviso los principios a los que estaremos regresando en el curso del artículo. (...)
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  31. Iterated Modalities, Meaning and A Priori Knowledge.Dominic Gregory - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11.
    Recent work on the philosophy of modality has tended to pass over questions about iterated modalities in favour of constructing ambitious metaphysical theories of possibility and necessity, despite the central importance of iterated modalities to modal logic. Yet there are numerous unresolved but fundamental issues involving iterated modalities: Chandler and Salmon have provided forceful arguments against the widespread assumption that all necessary truths are necessarily necessary, for example. The current paper examines a range of ways in which one might seek (...)
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  32. Essentialism vis-à-vis Possibilia, Modal Logic, and Necessitism.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (1):54-64.
    Pace Necessitism – roughly, the view that existence is not contingent – essential properties provide necessary conditions for the existence of objects. Sufficiency properties, by contrast, provide sufficient conditions, and individual essences provide necessary and sufficient conditions. This paper explains how these kinds of properties can be used to illuminate the ontological status of merely possible objects and to construct a respectable possibilist ontology. The paper also reviews two points of interaction between essentialism and modal logic. First, we will briefly (...)
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  33. Peacocke’s Principle-Based Account of Modality: “Flexibility of Origins” Plus S4.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (3):405-426.
    Due to the influence of Nathan Salmon’s views, endorsement of the “flexibility of origins” thesis is often thought to carry a commitment to the denial of S4. This paper rejects the existence of this commitment and examines how Peacocke’s theory of the modal may accommodate flexibility of origins without denying S4. One of the essential features of Peacocke’s account is the identification of the Principles of Possibility, which include the Modal Extension Principle (MEP), and a set of Constitutive Principles. Regarding (...)
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  34. Are Modal Contexts Opaque?Teresa Robertson - 2002 - Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (1):79-88.
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  35. In Defence of the Barcan Formula.Max Cresswell - 1991 - Logique Et Analyse 34 (135-136):271-282.
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  36. The Logic of What Might Have Been.Nathan Salmon - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (1):3-34.
    The dogma that the propositional logic of metaphysical modality is S5 is rebutted. The author exposes fallacies in standard arguments supporting S5, arguing that propositional metaphysical modal logic is weaker even than both S4 and B, and is instead the minimal and weak metaphysical-modal logic T.
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  37. Abstract universes and quantifying in.Donald E. Stahl - 1986 - Philosophia 16 (3-4):333-344.
    Philosophia (Israel), 16(3-4), 333 - 344. YEAR: 1986 Extensive corrigenda Vol. 17, no. 3. -/- SUBJECT(S): Quine's second thoughts on quantifying in, appearing in the second, revised edition of _From a Logical Point of View_ of 1961, are shown to be incorrect. His original thoughts were correct. ABSTRACT: Additional tumult is supplied to pp. 152-154 of _From A Logical Point of View_, showing that being dated is no guarantee of being right. Among other things, it is shown that Quine's argument (...)
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