Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 16, 2017

The New Aristotelian Essentialists

Harold W. Noonan
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

In recent years largely due to the seminal work of Kit Fine and that of Jonathan Lowe there has been a resurgence of interest in the concept of essence and the project of explaining de re necessity in terms of it. Of course, Quine rejected what he called Aristotelian essentialism in his battle against quantified modal logic. But what he and Kripke debated was a notion of essence defined in terms of de re necessity. The new Aristotelian essentialists regard essence as entailing but prior in the order of explanation to de re necessity. In what follows I argue that the concept of essence so understood has not been adequately explained and that any attempt to explain it, at least along the lines most familiar from the literature, must be flagrantly circular or make use of de re modal notions.

References

Cowling, S. 2013. “The Modal View of Essence.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43:248–266.10.1080/00455091.2013.827395Search in Google Scholar

Fine, K. 1994. “Essence and Modality.” In Philosophical Perspectives 8: Logic and Language, edited by J. Tomberlin, 1–16. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company.10.2307/2214160Search in Google Scholar

Fine, K. 1995a. “Ontological Dependence.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:269–290.10.1093/aristotelian/95.1.269Search in Google Scholar

Fine, K. 1995b. “Senses of Essence.” In Modality, Morality, and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus, edited by W. Sinnott-Armstrong, D. Raffman and N. Asher, 53–73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Fine, K. 2000. “Semantics for the Logic of Essence.” Journal of Philosophical Logic 29:543–584.10.1023/A:1026591900038Search in Google Scholar

Kripke, S. 1972. “Naming and Necessity.” In Semantics of Natural Language, edited by D. Davidson and G. Harman, 252–355. Dordrecht: Reidel.10.1007/978-94-010-2557-7_9Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E.J. 2007. “Review of Mackie, How Things Might Have Been.” Mind 116:762–766.10.1093/mind/fzm762Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E.J. 2008. “Two Notions of Being: Entity and Essence.” In Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics: Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62, edited by R. Le Poidevin, 23–48. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/S1358246108000568Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E.J. 2011. “Locke on Real Essence and Water as A Natural Kind: A Qualified Defence.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary 85:1–19.10.1111/j.1467-8349.2011.00193.xSearch in Google Scholar

Lowe, E.J. 2012. “What Is the Source of Our Knowledge of Modal Truths?.” Mind 121:919–950.10.1093/mind/fzs122Search in Google Scholar

Wildman, N. 2013. “Modality, Sparsity, and Essence.” Philosophical Quarterly 63:760–782.10.1111/1467-9213.12059Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2017-12-16
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow