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How Things Might Have BeenIndividuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties$
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Penelope Mackie

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199272204.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Preliminaries
How Things Might Have Been

Penelope Mackie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter characterizes essentialism, and distinguishes essentialism about individuals from essentialism about natural kinds, arguing that the first does, but the second need not, involve de re (as opposed to de dicto) modality. It is argued that given certain plausible assumptions, essentialism about individuals involves a commitment to necessary a posteriori truth, although the commitment is not inevitable. The implications of the concepts of possible worlds and identity across possible worlds (‘transworld identity’) are discussed.

Keywords:   de re, essentialism, identity, individual, natural kind, necessary a posteriori truth, possible world, predicate essentialism, rigid designator

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