Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics: A Brief Exposition and Defense

Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


The aim of this chapter is to show how, by combining a neo-Aristotelian account of essence with a neo-Aristotelian four-category ontology (of individual substances, modes, substantial universals, and property universals), a thoroughgoing metaphysical foundation for modal truths can be provided — one which avoids any appeal to “possible worlds” and which renders modal truths objective, mind-independent, and yet also humanly knowable. If successful, this combination of a system of fundamental ontology with a theory of essence and metaphysical modality promises to vindicate the Aristotelian vision of metaphysics as “first philosophy”, a discipline that is conceptually and epistemologically prior to any of the empirical sciences and an intellectual prerequisite of their pursuit of truth concerning the natural world and the human mind.


Modal Account Individual Substance Primary Substance Modal Truth Secondary Substance 
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  1. Fine, Kit 1994. “Essence and Modality,” in James E. Tomberlin (ed.) Philosophical Perspectives, 8: Logic and Language (Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview), pp. 1–16.Google Scholar
  2. Lowe, E. J. 2006. The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  3. — 2008. “Two Notions of Being: Entity and Essence,” in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.) Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 23–48.Google Scholar

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© E. J. Lowe 2013

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