Essence, Propria and Essentialist Explanation

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Zeyu Chi 1
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing, China

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

Abstract

In this paper I propose a notion of propria inspired by Aristotle, on which propria are non-essential, necessary properties explained by the essence of a thing. My proposal differs from the characterization of propria by Kit Fine and Kathrin Koslicki: unlike Fine, the relation of explanation on my account can’t be assimilated to a notion of logical entailment. In disagreement with Koslicki, I suggest that the explanatory relation at issue needs not be necessary. My account of essence is conceptually parsimonious: it illuminates the contribution of essence to explanation without relying on obscure notions such as Aristotelian form or identity.

  • Aristotle. 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle. Barnes, J. (ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Banks, J. 2017. In Defense of Modal Essentialism. Inquiry 60(8), 816838.

  • Bostock, D. 1994. Aristotle Metaphysics Book Z and H. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Boyd, R. 1999. Homeostasis, Species and Higher Taxa. In: Wilson, R. A. (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 141185.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boyd, R. 2010. Homeostasis, Higher Taxa and Monophyly. Philosophy of Science 77(5), 686701.

  • Brody, B. 1973. Why Settle for Anything Less than Good Old-Fashioned Aristotelian Essentialism. Noûs 7(4), 351365.

  • Charles, D. 1988. Aristotle on Hypothetical Necessity and Irreducibility. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 69, 153.

  • Cohen, M. 1978. Individual and Essence in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, In: Simmons, G. C. (ed.), Paedeia, Special Aristotle Issue. Buffalo, NY: States University College, 7585.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cooper, J. 1987. Hypothetical Necessity and Natural Teleology. In: Gotthelf, A. & Lennox, J. (eds.), Philosophical Issues in Aristotle’s Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 243274.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Copi, I. 1954. Essence and Accident. Journal of Philosophy 51, 706719.

  • Correia, F. 2007. Finean Essence and Priorean Modality. Dialectica 61(1), Special Issue: The Philosophy of Kit Fine, 6384.

  • Correia, F. 2012. On the Reduction of Necessity to Essence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84(3) 639653.

  • Cowling, S. 2013. The Modal View of Essence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43(2), 248266.

  • Crivelli, P. 2010. The Stoics on Definition. In Charles, D. (ed.), Definition in Greek Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 356423.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fine, G. 2014. The Possibility of Inquiry. Meno’s Paradox from Socrates to Sextus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Fine, K. 1994. Essence and Modality. Philosophical Perspectives 8, 116.

  • Fine K. 1995a. Ontological Dependence. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95, 269290.

  • Fine, K. 1995b. Senses of Essence. In: Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Raffman, D. & Asher, N. (eds.), Modality, Morality and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 5373.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fine, K. 1995c. Logic of Essence. Journal of Philosophical Logic 24(3), 241273.

  • Fine, K. 2002. The Varieties of Necessity. In Gendler, T. & Hawthorne, J. (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 253281.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gorman, M. 2005. The Essential and the Accidental. Ratio 18, 276289.

  • Kim, J. 1994. Explanatory Knowledge and Metaphysical Dependence. Philosophical Issues 5, 5169.

  • Koslicki, K. 2012a. Essence, Necessity and Explanation. In Tahko, T. E. (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 187206.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koslicki, K. 2012b. Varieties of Ontological Dependence. In: Correia, F. & Schnieder, B. (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 186213.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kung, J. 1976. Aristotle on Essence and Explanation. Philosophical Studies 31(6), 361383.

  • Leibniz, G. W. 1989. Philosophical Essays. Ariew, R. & Garber, D. (eds., trs.). Cambridge: Hackett.

  • Lewis, D. 1986. Philosophical Papers II. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 214240.

  • Locke, J. 1975. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Nidditch, P. (ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Lowe, E. J. 2013. Forms of Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Marcus, R. 1967. Essentialism in Modal Logic. Noûs 1(1), 9196.

  • Mill, S. 1879. A System of Logic. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

  • Oderberg, D. 2011. Essence and Properties. Erkenntnis 75(1), 85111.

  • Rosen, G. 2015. Real Definition. Analytic Philosophy 56(3), 189209.

  • Sandstad, P. 2016. Aristotle on Exceptions to Essences in Biology. In: Strobel, B. & Wöhrle, G. (eds.), Angewandte Epistemologie in antiker Philosophie und Wissenschaft (AKAN–Einzelschriften 11). Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 6992.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skiles, A. 2015. Essence in Abundance. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45(1), 100112.

  • Torza, A. 2015. Speaking of Essence. The Philosophical Quarterly 65(256), 754771.

  • Wildman, N. 2013. Modality, Sparsity, and Essence. The Philosophical Quarterly 63(253), 760782.

  • Zalta, E. 2006. Essence and Modality. Mind 115, 659693.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 328 328 82
Full Text Views 2 2 1
PDF Views & Downloads 4 4 1