more from Richard Cartwright

Single Idea 13955

[catalogued under 9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism]

Full Idea

Apparently those who think essentialism unintelligible see support for their position in the doctrine that necessary truths are all analytic. Only relative to some mode of designation does it make sense to speak of an object as necessarily this or that.

Gist of Idea

Essentialism is said to be unintelligible, because relative, if necessary truths are all analytic


Richard Cartwright (Some Remarks on Essentialism [1968], p.158)

Book Reference

Cartwright,Richard: 'Philosophical Essays' [MIT 1987], p.158

A Reaction

He has in mind Quine and his mathematician-cyclist (Idea 8482). Personally I have no problems with the example. No one is essentially a cyclist - that isn't what essence is. Two-legged people can be cyclists.

Related Idea

Idea 8482 Mathematicians must be rational but not two-legged, cyclists the opposite. So a mathematical cyclist? [Quine]