A Puzzle for Social Essences

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The social world contains institutions (nations, clubs), groups (races, genders), objects (talismans, borders), and more. This paper explores a puzzle about the essences of social items. There is widespread consensus against social essences because of problematic presuppositions often made about them. But it is argued that essence can be freed from these presuppositions and their problems. Even so, a puzzle still arises. In a Platonic spirit, essences in general seem “detached” from the world. In an Aristotelian spirit, social essences in particular seem “embedded” in the world. The puzzle is that these inclinations are individually plausible but jointly incompatible. The paper has four aims: to clarify and refine the puzzle; to explore the puzzle’s implications for essence in general and for social essences in particular; to illustrate the fruitfulness of the general distinction between “detached” and “embedded”; and to develop this distinction to sketch a novel solution to the puzzle.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
RAVAPF-2
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-12-14
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-12-09

Total views
100 ( #45,585 of 64,218 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
36 ( #21,249 of 64,218 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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