RE: Epistemology

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 09:37:42 MDT

Jerry writes

> I wasnt familiar with the term so I did some searching. Heres what I got:
> <snip>
> Essentialism, in philosophy, is the doctrine that things have essential
> properties, properties without which they would not be the things that they
> are. Many philosophers hold that the essence of water is its real essence;
> the essence of water is H2O. So the stuff in my glass has an essential
> property, a property without which it would not be the stuff that it is; if
> the stuff in my glass did not have the property of being H2O, then it would
> not be water.

That example doesn't seem to work! I can just imagine you going
off to planet Y in a very distant galaxy, crashlanding, swimming
across a large river, drinking the water, using it to water your
plants, and then having the first officer come yelling to you,
"Chief! This stuff isn't H20!". You'd then probably conclude
that not all water in the universe has the same chemical

Only in mathematics can I think of examples of things that have
essential properties, e.g., even numbers are divisible by two,
and even then our terms may be misleading.

So what is needed are some better examples by those who believe
in the existence of essential properties. At least that might
help me follow what is going on.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:21 MDT