more from Robert Pasnau

Single Idea 16783

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence]

Full Idea

Without the explanatory role of essence, the underlying epistemic picture would be jeopardised, because there would no longer be any causal route by which we might get from accidents to essence.

Gist of Idea

Essences must explain, so we can infer them causally from the accidents


Robert Pasnau (Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 [2011], 27.5)

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.648

A Reaction

There is a slight whiff of circularity here. It could be that we are psychologically desperate for essences, and so we invent bogus causal routes from the accidents to get at them. Can we know there are essences awaiting us, on independent grounds?