Penelope Mackie

in How Things Might Have Been

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199272204
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604034 | DOI:

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This chapter characterizes essentialism, and distinguishes essentialism about individuals from essentialism about natural kinds, arguing that the first does, but the second need not, involve de re (as opposed to de dicto) modality. It is argued that given certain plausible assumptions, essentialism about individuals involves a commitment to necessary a posteriori truth, although the commitment is not inevitable. The implications of the concepts of possible worlds and identity across possible worlds (‘transworld identity’) are discussed.

Keywords: de re; essentialism; identity; individual; natural kind; necessary a posteriori truth; possible world; predicate essentialism; rigid designator

Chapter.  7056 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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