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Essence, Necessity, and Explanation

In Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 187--206 (2012)

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  1. A Teoria da Demonstração Científica de Aristóteles em Segundos Analíticos 1.2-9 e 1.13.Davi Bastos - 2020 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 30:e03021.
    I defend an interpretation of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics Book I which distinguishes between two projects in different passages of that work: (i) to explain what a given science is and (ii) to explain what properly scientific knowledge is. I present Aristotle’s theory in answer to ii, with special attention to his definition of scientific knowledge in 71b9-12 and showing how this is developed on chapters I.2-9 and I.13 into a solid Theory of Scientific Demonstration. The main point of this theory (...)
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  • Essence and Modal Knowledge.Boris Kment - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1957-1979.
    During the last quarter of a century, a number of philosophers have become attracted to the idea that necessity can be analyzed in terms of a hyperintensional notion of essence. One challenge for proponents of this view is to give a plausible explanation of our modal knowledge. The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for meeting this challenge. My approach rests on an account of modality that I developed in previous work, and which analyzes modal properties in (...)
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  • Essence and Necessity, and the Aristotelian Modal Syllogistic: A Historical and Analytical Study.Daniel James Vecchio - unknown
    The following is a critical and historical account of Aristotelian Essentialism informed by recent work on Aristotle’s modal syllogistic. The semantics of the modal syllogistic are interpreted in a way that is motivated by Aristotle, and also make his validity claims in the Prior Analytics consistent to a higher degree than previously developed interpretative models. In Chapter One, ancient and contemporary objections to the Aristotelian modal syllogistic are discussed. A resolution to apparent inconsistencies in Aristotle’s modal syllogistic is proposed and (...)
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  • Making Semantics for Essence.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):859-876.
    ABSTRACTIn this paper, I develop a truthmaker semantics for essence and use the semantics to investigate the explanatory role of essence.
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  • Immediacy in Aristotle’s Epistemology.Breno Zuppolini - 2021 - Phronesis 66 (2):111-138.
    This article discusses immediate premises in Aristotle’s epistemology. The traditional interpretation identifies immediacy with indemonstrability: immediate truths are the indemonstrable principles of science from which the theorems are derived by demonstration. Against this common reading, I argue that Aristotle’s recognition of two kinds of epistemic priority commits him to the existence of two types of immediacy, only one of which is equivalent to indemonstrability. As a result, my interpretation offers a better understanding of a puzzling passage that seems to contradict (...)
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  • Essence and Identity.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford, UK: pp. 113-140.
    This paper evaluates six contenders which might be invoked by essentialists in order to meet Quine’s challenge, viz., to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the crossworld identity of individuals: (i) an object’s qualitative character; (ii) matter; (iii) origins; (iv) haecceities or primitive non-qualitative thisness properties; (v) “world-indexed properties”; and (iv) individual forms. The first three candidates, I argue, fail to provide conditions that are both necessary and sufficient for the crossworld identity of individuals; the fourth and fifth criteria are (...)
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  • Aristotle on Necessary Principles and on Explaining X Through X’s Essence.Lucas Angioni - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2):88-112.
    I discuss what Aristotle means when he say that scientific demonstration must proceed from necessary principles. I argue that, for Aristotle, scientific demonstration should not be reduced to sound deduction with necessary premises. Scientific demonstration ultimately depends on the fully appropriate explanatory factor for a given explanandum. This explanatory factor is what makes the explanandum what it is. Consequently, this factor is also unique. When Aristotle says that demonstration must proceed from necessary principles, he means that each demonstration requires the (...)
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  • Causality and Coextensiveness in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics 1.13.Lucas Angioni - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54:159-185.
    I discuss an important feature of the notion of cause in Post. An. 1. 13, 78b13–28, which has been either neglected or misunderstood. Some have treated it as if Aristotle were introducing a false principle about explanation; others have understood the point in terms of coextensiveness of cause and effect. However, none offers a full exegesis of Aristotle's tangled argument or accounts for all of the text's peculiarities. My aim is to disentangle Aristotle's steps to show that he is arguing (...)
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  • Lógica e Ciência em Aristóteles.Lucas Angioni - 2014 - Phi.
    Collective volume with papers by alumni and students from the Campinas Aristotle Group.
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  • Aristotle’s Definition of Scientific Knowledge.Lucas Angioni - 2016 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 19 (1):79-104.
    In Posterior Analytics 71b9 12, we find Aristotle’s definition of scientific knowledge. The definiens is taken to have only two informative parts: scientific knowledge must be knowledge of the cause and its object must be necessary. However, there is also a contrast between the definiendum and a sophistic way of knowing, which is marked by the expression “kata sumbebekos”. Not much attention has been paid to this contrast. In this paper, I discuss Aristotle’s definition paying due attention to this contrast (...)
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  • Metaphysical Rationalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):379-418.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason states that everything has an explanation. But different notions of explanation yield different versions of this principle. Here a version is formulated in terms of the notion of a “grounding” explanation. Its consequences are then explored, with particular emphasis on the fact that it implies necessitarianism, the view that every truth is necessarily true. Finally, the principle is defended from a number of objections, including objections to necessitarianism. The result is a defense of a “rationalist” (...)
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  • Questions of Ontology.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - In Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.), Ontology After Carnap. Oxford University Press.
    Following W.V. Quine’s lead, many metaphysicians consider ontology to be concerned primarily with existential questions of the form, “What is there?”. Moreover, if the position advanced by Rudolf Carnap, in his seminal essay, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology ”, is correct, then many of these existential ontological questions ought to be classified as either trivially answerable or as “pseudo-questions”. One may justifiably wonder, however, whether the Quinean and Carnapian perspective on ontology really does justice to many of the most central concerns (...)
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  • Conhecimento e Opinião em Aristóteles (Segundos Analíticos I-33).Lucas Angioni - 2013 - In Marcelo Carvalho (ed.), Encontro Nacional Anpof: Filosofia Antiga e Medieval. Anpof. pp. 329-341.
    This chapter discusses the first part of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics A-33, 88b30-89a10. I claim that Aristotle is not concerned with an epistemological distinction between knowledge and belief in general. He is rather making a contrast between scientific knowledge (which is equivalent to explanation by the primarily appropriate cause) and some explanatory beliefs that falls short of capturing the primarily appropriate cause.
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  • In Defence of Aristotelian Metaphysics.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - In Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 26-43.
    When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), (...)
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  • 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.
    The epistemology of essence is a topic that has received relatively little attention, although there are signs that this is changing. The lack of literature engaging directly with the topic is probably partly due to the mystery surrounding the notion of essence itself, and partly due to the sheer difficulty of developing a plausible epistemology. The need for such an account is clear especially for those, like E.J. Lowe, who are committed to a broadly Aristotelian conception of essence, whereby essence (...)
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  • Constitutive Essence and Partial Grounding.Eileen S. Nutting, Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):137-161.
    Kit Fine and Gideon Rosen propose to define constitutive essence in terms of ground-theoretic notions and some form of consequential essence. But we think that the Fine–Rosen proposal is a mistake. On the Fine–Rosen proposal, constitutive essence ends up including properties that, on the central notion of essence, are necessary but not essential. This is because consequential essence is closed under logical consequence, and the ability of logical consequence to add properties to an object’s consequential essence outstrips the ability of (...)
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  • In Defence of Modal Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
    Kit Fine’s arguments in Essence and Modality are widely accepted as being a decisive blow against modal essentialism. A selection of replies exist that have done little to counter the general view that modally construed essence is out of touch with what we really mean when we make essentialist claims. I argue that Fine’s arguments fail to strike a decisive blow, and I suggest a new interpretation of the debate that shows why Fine’s arguments fall short of achieving their goal.
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  • Knowledge and Opinion About the Same Thing in APo A-33.Lucas Angioni - 2013 - Dois Pontos 10 (2):255-290.
    This paper discusses the contrast between scientific knowledge and opinion as it is presented by Aristotle in Posterior Analytics A.33. Aristotle's contrast is formulated in terms of understanding or not understanding some "necessary items". I claim that the contrast can only be understood in terms of explanatory relevance. The "necessary items" are middle terms (or explanatory factors) that are necessary for the fully appropriate explanation. This approach gives a coherent interpretation of each step in the chapter.
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  • The Essences of Fundamental Properties.Jennifer Wang - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):40-54.
    There is a puzzle concerning the essences of fundamental entities that arises from considerations about essence, on one hand, and fundamentality, on the other. The Essence-Dependence Link (EDL) says that if x figures in the essence of y, then y is dependent upon x. EDL is prima facie plausible in many cases, especially those involving derivative entities. But consider the property negative charge. A negatively charged object exhibits certain behaviors that a positively charged object does not: it moves away from (...)
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  • Aristotle’s Explanationist Epistemology of Essence.Christopher Hauser - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):26-39.
    Essentialists claim that at least some individuals or kinds have essences. This raises an important but little-discussed question: how do we come to know what the essence of something is? This paper examines Aristotle’s answer to this question. One influential interpretation (viz., the Explanationist Interpretation) is carefully expounded, criticized, and then refined. Particular attention is given to what Aristotle says about this issue in DA I.1, APo II.2, and APo II.8. It is argued that the epistemological claim put forward in (...)
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  • Essentialist Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2871-2889.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in metaphysical explanation, and philosophers have fixed on the notion of ground as the conceptual tool with which such explanation should be investigated. I will argue that this focus on ground is myopic and that some metaphysical explanations that involve the essences of things cannot be understood in terms of ground. Such ‘essentialist’ explanation is of interest, not only for its ubiquity in philosophy, but for its being in a sense an ultimate (...)
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  • Estados de cosas y relaciones de fundación.José Tomás Alvarado - 2014 - Tópicos 28:01-31.
    un estado de cosas es una estructura no-mereológica compuesta por universales, objetos y tiempos. En principio, un estado de cosas no está fundado en sus componentes, pues tales componentes podrían existir, pero no el estado de cosas que componen. La introducción de otras relaciones de 'instanciación' no mejoran la situación, si tales relaciones son universales. Un estado de cosas, sin embargo, sí está fundado en un universal, uno o varios objetos, un tiempo y un tropo que, esencialmente, es la instanciación (...)
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  • Metaphysics as the First Philosophy.Tuomas Tahko - 2013 - In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 49-67.
    Aristotle talks about 'the first philosophy' throughout the Metaphysics – and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy – but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied (...)
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  • Ontological Underpinnings of Aristotle's Philosophy of Science.Breno A. Zuppolini - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Campinas, Brazil
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  • The Coarse-Grainedness of Grounding.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:306-344.
    After many years of enduring the drought and famine of Quinean ontology and Carnapian meta-ontology, the notion of ground, with its distinctively philosophical flavor, finally promises to give metaphysicians something they can believe in again and around which they can rally: their very own metaphysical explanatory connection which apparently cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, other familiar idioms such as identity, modality, parthood, supervenience, realization, causation or counterfactual dependence. Often, phenomena such as the following are cited as (...)
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  • Essence and Cause: Making Something Be What It Is.Riin Sirkel - 2018 - Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):89-112.
    Aristotle frequently describes essence as a “cause” or “explanation”, thus ascribing to essence some sort of causal or explanatory role. This explanatory role is often explicated by scholars in terms of essence “making the thing be what it is” or “making it the very thing that it is”. I argue that this is problematic, at least on the assumption that “making” expresses an explanatory relation, since it violates certain formal features of explanation. I then consider whether Aristotle is vulnerable to (...)
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  • Situando Aristóteles na Discussão Acerca da Natureza da Causação.Davi Heckert César Bastos - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Campinas, Brazil
    I present Aristotle’s theory of causation in a way that privileges a comparison with contemporary discussion on causation. I do so by selecting in Aristotle’s theory points that are interesting to contemporary discussion and by translating Aristotle in the contemporary philosophical terminology. I compare Aristotle’s views with Mackie’s (1993/1965) and Sosa’s (1993/1980). Mackie is a humean regularist regarding the metaphysics of causal necessity, but his theory postulates some formal aspects of the causal relation which are similar to the Aristotelian theory. (...)
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  • The Hard Question for Hylomorphism.Dana Goswick - 2018 - Metaphysics 1 (1):52-62.
    The view that ordinary objects are composites of form and matter ("hylomorphism") can be contrasted with the more common view that ordinary objects are composed of only material parts ("matter only"). On a matter-only view the hard question is modal: which modal profile does that (statue-shaped) object have? Does it have the modal profile of a statue, a lump, a mere aggregate? On a hylomorphic view the hard question is ontological: which objects exist? Does a statue (matter-m + statue-form), a (...)
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  • Towards a Hylomorphic Solution to the Grounding Problem.Kathrin Koslicki - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements to Philosophy 82:333-364.
    Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...)
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