Chapter

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198244142.003.0002

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 Modality De Re: Objections

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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

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