Chapter

The Necessity of Natures

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/10.1093/0198244142.003.0005

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 The Necessity of Natures

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I argue that each object has many essences (sometimes referred to as ‘hacceities’ or ‘natures’). A property E is an essence of object x if and only if E is essential to x and in every possible world everything distinct from x has the complement of E essentially. I then elaborate on the nature of essences and examine the relationship between essences and proper names. My view is that John Stuart Mill was mistaken in his belief that proper names do not express properties. In fact, proper names express essences and I make use of this fact in addressing the famous problem of Hesperus and Phosphorus.

Keywords: essence; essential; hacceity; John Stuart Mill; proper name; property

Chapter.  7256 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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