UCL Philosophy


Ditter: Are there iterated essentialist truths?

15 September 2023

Andreas Ditter: Are there iterated essentialist truths? (2023), Analysis

Let an iterated essentialist statement be a statement of the form 'It lies in the nature of x1,x2,... that it lies in the nature of y1,y2,... that φ'. Let Iteration be the thesis that there are true iterated essentialist statements. Iteration has recently been disputed by Dasgupta (2014) and Glazier (2017). Both authors take the falsity of Iteration to be central to the explanatory role of essentialist truths. An important consequence that is not explicitly noted by them is that the falsity of Iteration would entail that metaphysical necessity is not reducible to essence in the manner suggested by Fine (1994). This paper defends Iteration against these challenges, drawing attention to some features of the collective essences of properties, propositions, and logical operations that have been largely neglected in discussions about essence.