- As the title of my paper suggests, in what follows I want to talk both about beings — entities that do or could exist — and about being, in the sense of essence: what Locke talks about when he says that ‘essence’, in the ‘proper original signification’ of the word, denotes ‘the very being of any thing, whereby it is, what it is’.
- The latter notion is, of course, one that he gets straight out of Aristotle. One of my key claims will be that although all entities have essences, essences themselves should never be thought of as further entities, somehow specially related to the entities whose essences they are.
- In my view, confusion over this point has caused much mischief in the history of metaphysics and continues to do so in contemporary debates about essentialism, metaphysical necessity, and modal epistemology.
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