more from Allan Gibbard

Single Idea 14077

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

Full Idea

Essentialism for the class of concrete things is false, since a statue necessarily fulfils a condition as 'Goliath', but only contingently fulfils it as 'lumpl'. On the other hand, essentialism for the class of individual concepts can be true.


'Lumpl' is his name for the piece of clay

Gist of Idea

Essentialism for concreta is false, since they can come apart under two concepts


Allan Gibbard (Contingent Identity [1975], VII)

Book Reference

-: 'Journal of Symbolic Logic' [-], p.207

A Reaction

This rests on his definition of essentialism in Idea 14076. He rests his essentialism about concepts on an account given by Carnap ('Meaning and Necessity' 41). The essence of a statue and the essence of a lump of clay do seem distinct.

Related Idea

Idea 14076 Essentialism is the existence of a definite answer as to whether an entity fulfils a condition [Gibbard]