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Aquinas's Way to GodThe Proof in De Ente et Essentia$
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Gaven Kerr

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190224806

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190224806.001.0001

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(p.36) 2 Essence
Aquinas's Way to God

OP Gaven Kerr

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out Aquinas’s thought on the true nature of essence (the essence of essence, so to speak). Aquinas’s thinking on essence is compared and contrasted with other, more contemporary, accounts. The chapter opens with Aquinas’s presentation of essence as the definitional content of a thing, and proceeds to contrast this conception of essence with contemporary modal essentialism. It is argued here that contemporary modal essentialism is not a viable essentialism without some prior commitment to real essentialism. Indeed, some of the commitments of modal essentialism are posited to be rather unpalatable.

Keywords:   essence, matter, form, definition, modal essentialism, Plantinga, Kripke

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