more from Alvin Plantinga

Single Idea 14666

[catalogued under 9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 1. Essences of Objects]

Full Idea

Socrates is a contingent being; his essence, however, is not. Properties, like propositions and possible worlds, are necessary beings. If Socrates had not existed, his essence would have been unexemplified, but not non-existent.

Gist of Idea

Socrates is a contingent being, but his essence is not; without Socrates, his essence is unexemplified


Alvin Plantinga (Actualism and Possible Worlds [1976], 4)

Book Reference

Plantinga,Alvin: 'Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality' [OUP 2003], p.116

A Reaction

This is a distinctive Plantinga view, of which I can make little sense. I take it that Socrates used to have an essence. Being dead, the essence no longer exists, but when we talk about Socrates it is largely this essence to which we refer. OK?

Related Idea

Idea 14664 Necessary beings (numbers, properties, sets, propositions, states of affairs, God) exist in all possible worlds [Plantinga]