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Modality and Explanatory Reasoning$
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Boris Kment

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604685.001.0001

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Essence, Laws, and Explanation

Essence, Laws, and Explanation

(p.146) 6 Essence, Laws, and Explanation
Modality and Explanatory Reasoning

Boris Kment

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 develops the working account of essence, grounding, and fundamentality that will be applied in the rest of the book. After a discussion of the logical form of essential truths and of how to understand various essentialist idioms, the focus shifts to the role of essence in grounding, the relation of metaphysical explanation in which metaphysically more fundamental facts stand to the less fundamental facts to which they give rise. Essential truths and certain other metaphysical principles play an explanatory role in grounding very similar to that of the laws of nature in causation, and that gives us good reason to regard them as a kind of metaphysical law. This result suggests a “covering-law conception” of grounding: the grounds of a fact f and the metaphysical laws together determine f. The chapter concludes with some arguments for the fundamentality of essence.

Keywords:   essence, metaphysical explanation, grounding, covering-law conception, metaphysical law, laws of nature, fundamentality

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