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How to be a modalist about essence

In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford University Press (2016)

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  1. 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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  • Essence, Necessity, and Definition.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):339-350.
    What is it for something to be essential to an item? For some time, it was standard to think that the concept of necessity alone can provide an answer: for something to be essential to an item is for it to be strictly implied by the existence of that item. We now tend to think that this view fails because its analysans is insufficient for its analysandum. In response, some argue that we can supplement the analysis in terms of necessity (...)
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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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  • Against the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Nathan Wildman - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    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 (...)
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