Modality De Re: Objections

Alvin Plantinga

in The Nature of Necessity

Published in print February 1978 | ISBN: 9780198244141
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598241 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 Modality De Re: Objections

Show Summary Details


I discuss three objections to essentialism. The first objection is from Gilbert Harman, who claims that because numbers can be identified or reduced to sets it follows that numbers cannot have essential properties. In the second objection, William Kneale argues for the conclusion that objects have essential properties only relative to a certain way of specifying or selecting the object. Kneale's argument suffers from a de re/de dicto confusion and the disambiguated reading of his argument is unsound. The third objection, Quine's mathematical cyclist, contains a similar confusion.

Keywords: de dicto; de re; essentialism; Gilbert Harman; William Kneale; modality; property; Quine; sets

Chapter.  4697 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.