, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 17–30 | Cite as

Individual Essence: gibt es solche?

  • Márta UjváriEmail author


Two arguments are offered here for postulating individual essences of concrete individuals on top of their sortal essences. One is the explanatory gap argument, the other draws on the analogy with the individual essences of events presupposed in single causal explanations. These arguments support qualitative individual essences with explanatory goals as opposed to hybrid impure relational essences accounting for origin and numerical identity. It is highlighted why origin properties as parts of impure relational essences do not yield genuine de re constructions. The distinction between the two types of individual essences is traced back to the ambiguity of the very notion of individuation.


Essential Property Material Constitution Definite Description Individual Nature Explanatory Role 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adams, R. 1979. „Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity”, Journal of Philosophy 76: 5- 26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Borbély, G. 2008. Civakodó angyalok. Bevezetés a középkori filozófiába (in Hungarian) [Eristic disputes of angels: introduction to medieval philosophy] (Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó)Google Scholar
  3. Brody, B. 1980. Identity and Essence (Princeton: Princeton University Press)Google Scholar
  4. Burke, M. 1994. “Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution to an ancient puzzle”, Journal of Philosophy 90:129-39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burke, M. 2004. ”Dion, Theon and the many-thinkers problem”, Analysis 64: 242- 50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cover, J. A., Hawthorne, J. O’Leary 1999. Substance and Individuation in Leibniz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) reprinted in 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davidson, D. 1980. ’The Individuation of Events’, in: Essays on Actions and Events (Oxford: Oxford University Press)Google Scholar
  8. Davidson, D. 1993. ‘Causal Relations’, in: Ernest Sosa, Michael Tooley eds. Causation (Oxford: Oxford University Press)Google Scholar
  9. Della Rocca, M. 1996a. “Essentialism: Part 1”, Philosophical Books, 37: 1-13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fine, Kit 1994. „Essence and Modality”, Philosophical Perspectives 8: 1- 16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Forbes, G. 1985. The Metaphysics of Modality (Oxford: Clarendon Press)Google Scholar
  12. Forbes, G. 1992. ‘Worlds and states of affairs: how similar they can be?’ in: Language, Truth and Ontology ed. Mulligan, K. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 118-32.Google Scholar
  13. Gorman, M. 2005. “The Essential and the Accidental”, Ratio XVIII. 276-289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Haslanger, S., Kurtz, R.M. eds. 2006. Persistence: Contemporary Readings (Cambridge: MIT Press)Google Scholar
  15. Leibniz, G. W. 1969. Philosophical Papers and Letters ed. and trans Leroy E. Loemker, (Dordrecht: D. Reidel) repr. in 1976.Google Scholar
  16. Lombard, L. B. 1979. ‘Events’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 9. repr. in Steven D. Hales ed. Metaphysics. Contemporary Readings (Wadworth, Belmont, CA, 1999, 348-369.)Google Scholar
  17. Look, Brandon, C. 2008. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, entry: “Leibniz’s Modal Metaphysics”Google Scholar
  18. Losonsky, M. 1987. „Individual essences”, American Philosophical Quarterly 24: 253-60.Google Scholar
  19. Mackie, P. 2006. How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds and Essential Properties (Oxford: Clarendon)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Matthews, G. 1990. „Aristotelian essentialism”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1: 251- 62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Park, Woosuk 1990. „Haecceitas and the Bare Particular”, The Review of Metaphysics 44. 375-397.Google Scholar
  22. Paul, L.A. 2004. ‘The context of essence”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82: 170-84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Plantinga, A. 1987. “The Boethian Compromise”, American Philosophical Quarterly, 15. reprinted in: Plantinga, Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality, OUP, 2003. 122-138.Google Scholar
  24. Robertson, T. 2008. “Essential vs. Accidental Properties”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
  25. Roya-Royes, S. 2011. “Essential Properties and Individual Essences”, Philosophy Compass 6: 65 -77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Salmon, N. 2002. “This Side of the Paradox”, Philosophical Topics, 30:187-197. repr. in Salmon Metaphysics, Mathematics and Meaning. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  27. Ujvári, M. 2004. „Cambridge change and sortal essentialism”, Metaphysica 5: 25-35.Google Scholar
  28. Ujvári, M. 2011a. „Intrinsic, hence Real; Extrinsic, hence Unreal? The Modal and the Sortal Properties of Continuants”, Prolegomena 10: 53-67.Google Scholar
  29. Ujvári, M. 2011b. „Prior’s Fable and the limits of de re possibility”, Synthese, special issue: From a logical angle. Some studies in A.N. Prior’s ideas on time, discourse, and metaphysics. Peter Øhrstrøm, Per Hasle & Ulrik Sandborg-Petersen eds. URL:

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Corvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations