Fabrice Correia

Essence as Generalised Identity and Real Definition

In recent unpublished work, Alexander Skiles and I have developed a unified theory of essence and grounding in terms of a notion we call, borrowing the phrase from Øystein Linnebo, generalised identity. The concept of essence which is the target of the account is linked to the notion of real definition: for instance, if “It is to be G” is a correct (full or only partial) answer to the essentialist question “What is it to be F?”, then it provides a (full or only partial) real definition of being F. An important feature of our account is that full real definitions are symmetric: if to be F is what it is to be G, then to be G is what it is to be F. This is at odds with the received view that real definitions must be asymmetric. In the talk, I will explore the prospects of characterising an asymmetric notion of real definition using the framework of generalised identity.

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