Classical modalism about essence is the view that essence can be analysed in modal terms. Despite Kit Fine's influential critique, no general refutation of classical modalism has yet been given. In the first part of the paper, I provide such a refutation by showing that the notion of essence cannot be analysed in terms of any sentential operator definable in the language of standard quantified modal logic. As a reaction to Fine's critique, some have defended sophisticated modalism, which attempts to analyse essence in an enriched modal language quantifying over both possible and impossible worlds. In the second part of the paper, I argue that sophisticated modalism falls prey to variations on Fine's counterexamples to classical modalism. I conclude that the most promising approaches to understanding the notion of essence consist in taking essence either as primitive or as analysable via a combination of modal and non-modal notions.

Speaking of Essence / Torza, A. - In: PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY. - ISSN 1467-9213. - 65:261(2015). [10.1093/pq/pqv036]

Speaking of Essence

TORZA A
2015-01-01

Abstract

Classical modalism about essence is the view that essence can be analysed in modal terms. Despite Kit Fine's influential critique, no general refutation of classical modalism has yet been given. In the first part of the paper, I provide such a refutation by showing that the notion of essence cannot be analysed in terms of any sentential operator definable in the language of standard quantified modal logic. As a reaction to Fine's critique, some have defended sophisticated modalism, which attempts to analyse essence in an enriched modal language quantifying over both possible and impossible worlds. In the second part of the paper, I argue that sophisticated modalism falls prey to variations on Fine's counterexamples to classical modalism. I conclude that the most promising approaches to understanding the notion of essence consist in taking essence either as primitive or as analysable via a combination of modal and non-modal notions.
2015
Speaking of Essence / Torza, A. - In: PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY. - ISSN 1467-9213. - 65:261(2015). [10.1093/pq/pqv036]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2964347
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