Single Idea 16622

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

Full Idea

Essence and all other abstract names are words artificial belonging to the art of logic, and signify only the manner how we consider the substance itself.

Gist of Idea

Essence is just an artificial word from logic, giving a way of thinking about substances


Thomas Hobbes (Letter to Bramhall [1650], 4:308), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.117

A Reaction

I sympathise quite a lot with this view, but not with its dismissive tone. The key question I take to be: if you reject essences entirely (having read too much physics), how are we going to think about entities in the world in future?