- Problems involving essentialism are now receiving a great deal of attention from modal logicians1 and philosophers. Even a cursory glance at work in this field, however, soon reveals that there are many doctrines which go by this title.
- I will isolate and discuss one such doctrine. In particular, after isolating one version of essentialism (Sections I and II), I will argue that work in quantified modal logic2 can be and is independent of the acceptance of the truth of this doctrine (Sections III-V). In the last section (Section VI) I will attempt to show, on the basis of facts established in Sections III-V, just why this particular form of essentialism is a philosophically suspect doctrine.
- I will also argue that work in quantified modal logic3 need not even presuppose the meaningfulness of essentialist claims in any objectionable sense.
- My arguments aim at
- a clarification of one sort of essentialism, and
- a partial vindication of quantified modal logic4.
- Quoted in "Marcus (Ruth Barcan) - A Philosopher's Calling".
- “A modal5 language will accommodate talk of essential attributes, i.e., necessary but not logically necessary attributes, but may be consistent with the falsehood of all essentialist claims – a conclusion I intuited and Terry Parsons later proved in "Essentialism and Quantified Modal Logic6.”
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