Origin Properties and Individual Essences

Penelope Mackie

in How Things Might Have Been

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199272204
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604034 | DOI:
 Origin Properties and Individual Essences

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Graeme Forbes has argued that many ordinary persisting things (including people, animals, and plants) can be attributed non-trivial individual essences that include distinctive features of their origins. According to Forbes, this enables us to interpret de re modal claims about such individuals in terms of identity across possible worlds without embracing ‘bare identities’. This chapter considers various problems that Forbes’s proposal confronts, and concludes that there are no plausible candidates for non-trivial individual essences of the type that his theory requires. A version of Chisholm’s Paradox about identity across possible worlds, and of the ‘Four Worlds Paradox’ identified by Nathan Salmon are discussed.

Keywords: bare identities; Chisholm’s Paradox; Forbes; Four Worlds Paradox; haecceitism; identity across possible worlds; individual essence; origin; Salmon; unshareable essential property

Chapter.  9731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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