Ideas from 'What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths?' by E.J. Lowe [2013], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Mind' (ed/tr -) [- ,]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas


2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence
A definition of a circle will show what it is, and show its generating principle
Defining an ellipse by conic sections reveals necessities, but not the essence of an ellipse
An essence is what an entity is, revealed by a real definition; this is not an entity in its own right
2. Reason / D. Definition / 11. Ostensive Definition
Simple things like 'red' can be given real ostensive definitions
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
The essence of lumps and statues shows that two objects coincide but are numerically distinct
The essence of a bronze statue shows that it could be made of different bronze
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition
Grasping an essence is just grasping a real definition
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 8. Essence as Explanatory
Explanation can't give an account of essence, because it is too multi-faceted
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 14. Knowledge of Essences
If we must know some entity to know an essence, we lack a faculty to do that
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
Logical necessities, based on laws of logic, are a proper sub-class of metaphysical necessities
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 5. Metaphysical Necessity
'Metaphysical' necessity is absolute and objective - the strongest kind of necessity
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 2. Epistemic possibility
'Epistemic' necessity is better called 'certainty'
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 6. Necessity from Essence
If an essence implies p, then p is an essential truth, and hence metaphysically necessary
Metaphysical necessity is either an essential truth, or rests on essential truths
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / e. Against possible worlds
We could give up possible worlds if we based necessity on essences
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 1. Intuition
'Intuitions' are just unreliable 'hunches'; over centuries intuitions change enormously
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 1. Concepts / a. Concepts
A concept is a way of thinking of things or kinds, whether or not they exist
19. Language / D. Theories of Reference / 3. Direct Reference / a. Direct reference
Direct reference doesn't seem to require that thinkers know what it is they are thinking about
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / e. Anti scientific essentialism
H2O isn't necessary, because different laws of nature might affect how O and H combine