De re modality and the new essentialism: a dilemma

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Thom, P 2003, 'De Re modality and the new essentialism: a dilemma', Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 189-199.

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In his book The Philosophy of Nature, Ellis presents "the new essentialism" as resting on the notions of a property, an intrinsic property, an essential property, natural necessity and possibility, a natural kind, a fixed natural kind, and a natural law. The present paper argues that (1) the central notions in this group are susceptible of a logical analysis, (2) Ellis's notion of natural possibility has a historical precedent in the work of Abéelard, (3) the notion of natural possibility contains both de re and de dicto elements, and (4) Ellis's essentialist claims, when joined to any plausible definition of natural possibility, lead to inconsistency.

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