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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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The Necessity of Natures

The Necessity of Natures

(p.70) V The Necessity of Natures
The Nature of Necessity

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

I argue that each object has many essences (sometimes referred to as ‘hacceities’ or ‘natures’). A property E is an essence of object x if and only if E is essential to x and in every possible world everything distinct from x has the complement of E essentially. I then elaborate on the nature of essences and examine the relationship between essences and proper names. My view is that John Stuart Mill was mistaken in his belief that proper names do not express properties. In fact, proper names express essences and I make use of this fact in addressing the famous problem of Hesperus and Phosphorus.

Keywords:   essence, essential, hacceity, John Stuart Mill, proper name, property

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