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The Nature of Necessity$
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Alvin Plantinga

Print publication date: 1978

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198244142.001.0001

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Modality De Re: Objections

Modality De Re: Objections

Chapter:
(p.14) II Modality De Re: Objections
Source:
The Nature of Necessity
Author(s):

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198244142.003.0002

I discuss three objections to essentialism. The first objection is from Gilbert Harman, who claims that because numbers can be identified or reduced to sets it follows that numbers cannot have essential properties. In the second objection, William Kneale argues for the conclusion that objects have essential properties only relative to a certain way of specifying or selecting the object. Kneale's argument suffers from a de re/de dicto confusion and the disambiguated reading of his argument is unsound. The third objection, Quine's mathematical cyclist, contains a similar confusion.

Keywords:   de dicto, de re, essentialism, Gilbert Harman, William Kneale, modality, property, Quine, sets

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