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Knowing how things might have been

Jago, Mark


Professor of Philosophy


I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essences, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to essences; and that we can gain knowledge of them. We can know about which properties are, and which properties are not, essential to a given entity. This knowledge of essence offers a route to knowledge of the ways those entities must be or could be.


Jago, M. (2018). Knowing how things might have been. Synthese,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 8, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 14, 2018
Publication Date Jul 14, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 20, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2018
Journal Synthese
Print ISSN 0039-7857
Electronic ISSN 1573-0964
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Essence ; Nature; Modality; Knowledge; Modal epistemology; Kit Fine; Essential bundle theory
Public URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


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