Putting Modal Metaphysics First

Synthese:1-20 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes all the many properties and behaviors that are typically shared by all the instances of the kind. Accordingly, we know what is necessarily true of kinds by knowing what is essential to them in the sense of actually playing such causal-explanatory roles. Modal reasoning aimed at discovering metaphysical necessity thus proceeds via essentialist deduction: we move from essentialist truths to reach necessary truths.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MALPMM
Revision history
First archival date: 2018-05-21
Latest version: 2 (2018-05-21)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2018-05-21

Total views
296 ( #10,785 of 41,458 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
98 ( #4,779 of 41,458 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.