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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 15, 2008


Lee-Sun Choi
Pages 29-36

Essence and Identity

In this paper, I am going to ask what the general criteria for identity are and exactly how essence is related to that. Two notions are related to this question: Essential properties (necessary properties) and individual essences. Only the notion of individual essence has been involved in the criteria of transworld identity. The disputes of transworld have centered on the intrinsic properties necessarily connected to thisness. Through introducing a notion of part-rigidity, however, we can see that there can be an entity that does not have an individual essence as an intrinsic property necessarily connected to thisness, the non-part-rigid structure. Being this structure is an intrinsic property that is relational and compositional. An entity that has a relational and compositional intrinsic property as its necessary property seems to have no individual essence. For this kind of entities, just an essential property (or a necessary property) is involved in the criteria of transworld identity.

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