Essential Attribution
Marcus (Ruth Barcan)
Source: Journal of Philosophy 68.7 (Apr. 8, 1971), pp. 187-202
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    A minimal characterization of an essential property is given. Necessary properties are a broader classification under which essential properties fall. Further conditions lead to different modes of essentialism. Some of these are considered; in particular those conditions which might characterize individuating essences are distinguished from those which might characterize aristotelian essences. For such modes, especially the latter, the modalities1 are taken on a physical or causal interpretation. That yields a definition of a causal conditional and illuminates the role of essential attribution in reasoning about causes. Natural kinds2 are seen as aristotelian essences which play a special role in causal reasoning, a role which can be made quite explicit within the framework of a modal3 structure. Within that structure, there do not emerge those paradoxes about causal reasoning which emerge in the standard logical framework.

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