Philosophy Compass 6 (1):65-77 (2011)
AbstractAccording to Essentialism, an object’s properties divide into those that are essential and those that are accidental. While being human is commonly thought to be essential to Socrates, being a philosopher plausibly is not. We can motivate the distinction by appealing—as we just did—to examples. However, it is not obvious how best to characterize the notion of essential property, nor is it easy to give conclusive arguments for the essentiality of a given property. In this paper, I elaborate on these issues and explore the way in which essential properties behave in relation to other related properties, like sufficient-for-existence properties and individual essences.
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