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An epistemic distinction among essences, its metaphysical ground, and the role of philosophy


Gaultier, Benoit (2024). An epistemic distinction among essences, its metaphysical ground, and the role of philosophy. Synthese, 203(6):179.

Abstract

Uniformism is the view that one and the same epistemology should apply for all modal knowledge. I argue that, whether or not all modal knowledge can be accounted for in terms of knowledge of essences, uniformism about knowledge of essences is untenable. I do this by showing that, while some essences are empirically discoverable, others are not. I then argue that the uniquely realisable–non-uniquely realisable distinction is a better metaphysical candidate for grounding this epistemic difference than the concrete–abstract distinction. I conclude by suggesting that the task of philosophy is to identify non-empirically discoverable essences.

Abstract

Uniformism is the view that one and the same epistemology should apply for all modal knowledge. I argue that, whether or not all modal knowledge can be accounted for in terms of knowledge of essences, uniformism about knowledge of essences is untenable. I do this by showing that, while some essences are empirically discoverable, others are not. I then argue that the uniquely realisable–non-uniquely realisable distinction is a better metaphysical candidate for grounding this epistemic difference than the concrete–abstract distinction. I conclude by suggesting that the task of philosophy is to identify non-empirically discoverable essences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Epistemology of essence, Uniformism, Multiple realisability, Philosophical knowledge
Language:English
Date:23 May 2024
Deposited On:23 May 2024 15:44
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0039-7857
Additional Information:= Artikel Nr. 179
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-024-04619-7
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)