Ideas from 'Substance and Essence in Aristotle' by Charlotte Witt [1989], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Substance and Essence in Aristotle' by Witt,Charlotte [Cornell 1994,0-8014-8192-9]].

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2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence
Essence is not all the necessary properties, since these extend beyond the definition
                        Full Idea: Aristotle never thought of an essence as comprising all the necessary properties of an object. In Met VII.4 he limits per se predication appropriate to essences to the definition, and in Topics he distinguishes definition from the 'proprium'.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], 4.1)
                        A reaction: [Topics 102a20-25] There seems to be consensus among scholars about this, and only a few misguided modern metaphysicians identify essences with the necessary properties (or maybe the non-trivial necessary properties).
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 2. Types of Essence
Aristotelian and Kripkean essentialism are very different theories
                        Full Idea: The differences between Aristotelian essentialism and Kripke's essentialism are so fundamental and pervasive that it is a serious distortion of both views to think of essentialism as a single theory.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], Intro)
                        A reaction: This seems to me to be very important, because there is a glib assumption that when essentialism is needed for modal logic, that we must immediately have embraced what Aristotle was saying. Aristotle was better than Kripke.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition
An Aristotelian essence is a nonlinguistic correlate of the definition
                        Full Idea: An Aristotelian essence is a nonlinguistic correlate of the definition of the entity in question.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], Intro)
                        A reaction: This is a simple and necessity corrective to the simplistic idea that Aristotle thought that essences just were definitions. Aristotle believes in real essences, not linguistic essences.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
If unity is a matter of degree, then essence may also be a matter of degree
                        Full Idea: By holding that the most unified beings have essences in an unqualified sense, while allowing that other beings have them in a qualified sense - we can think of unity as a matter of degree.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], 4.3)
                        A reaction: This is Witt's somewhat unorthodox view of how we should read Aristotle. I am sympathetic, if essences are really explanatory. That means they are unstable, and would indeed be likely to come in degrees.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 8. Essence as Explanatory
Essences mainly explain the existence of unified substance
                        Full Idea: The central function of essence is to explain the actual existence of a unified substance.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], 5 n1)
                        A reaction: She is offering an interpretation of Aristotle. Since existence is an active and not a passive matter, the identity of the entity will include its dispositions etc., I presume.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 12. Origin as Essential
Essential properties of origin are too radically individual for an Aristotelian essence
                        Full Idea: The radical individuality of essential properties of origin makes them unsuitable for inclusion in an Aristotelian essence.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], 6.2)
                        A reaction: Nevertheless, Aristotle believes in individual essences, though these seem to be fixed by definitions, which are composed of combinations of universals. The uniqueness is of the whole definition, not of its parts.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
Reality is directional
                        Full Idea: Reality is directional.
                        From: Charlotte Witt (Substance and Essence in Aristotle [1989], 4.5)
                        A reaction: [Plucked from context! She attributes the view to Aristotle] This slogan beautifully summarises the 'scientific essentialist' view of reality, based not on so-called 'laws', but on the active powers of the stuffs of reality.