Essentialism versus Essentialism
Della Rocca (Michael)
Source: Gendler & Hawthorne - Conceivability and Possibility, 2002
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    I argue that the key motivation for the essentialist is that modal1 intuitions, such as "Humphrey might have won", are not to be explicated in terms of persons in other possible situations who are similar to the actual Humphrey. However, because of a need to preserve the necessity of identity, the essentialist must claim that certain other intuitions (such as "Hesperus might not have been Phosphorus") have to be understood in terms of similarity (as in Kripke) or have to be rejected (as in Yablo). This move leads to ineliminable doubts about the essentialist's rejection of similarity, and so it leads to an undermining of the motivation for essentialism itself.

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