Back to overview

La théorie de l'essence

English title The Theory of essence
Applicant Correia Fabrice
Number 114758
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.09.2007 - 30.09.2011
Approved amount 1'057'346.00
Show all

Keywords (10)

metaphysics; ontology; logic; essence; necessity; dependence; supervenience; substance; haecceity; natural kinds

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Philosophers commonly make a distinction between the essential properties of a thing (object, entity) and its accidental properties. The essential properties of a thing are those which determine or constitute its nature, what the thing is, the properties without which it would not be the thing it is. The accidental properties of a thing are simply those which are not essential to it.The concept of essence or of an essential property is of central importance in philosophy and pervades the philosophical debate since the ancient times, just like, for instance, the concepts of truth, knowledge, moral value or freedom.The aim of the present project is twofold: first, to propose a theory of essence - a theory which analyses, or at least substantially clarifies this notion and answers to certain general questions about it, and second, in the light of this theory, to deal with a certain number of issues or topics where the notion of essence is in play.The concept of essence has been largely regarded with suspicion by the philosophers which, like me, belong to the analytic tradition (roughly) until the 70s. Since then, this concept has largely gained the respect of the analytic community. In the 90s, a series of works has powerfully questioned a very popular type of analyses of the concept of essence, and has thereby opened a field of investigation which remains to be exploited. A systematic work on the notion of essence is needed, in particular a work which takes this revolution of the 90s into account. It is this kind of work that the project is intended to realize.The scope of the project is wide and covers many areas of investigation - certain domains of philosophy like (of course) metaphysics, logic, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language, but also some non-philosophical domains like cognitive science and theoretical computer science.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Eternal Facts in an Ageing Universe
Correia Fabrice, Rosenkranz Sven (2012), Eternal Facts in an Ageing Universe, in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 307.
Grounding: an opinionated introduction
Correia Fabrice, Schnieder Benjamin (2012), Grounding: an opinionated introduction, in Correia Fabrice (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1.
Kant’s Modalities of Judgment
Leech Jessica (2012), Kant’s Modalities of Judgment, in The European Journal of Philosophy, 260.
Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality
Correia Fabrice (ed.) (2012), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
On the Reduction of Necessity to Essence
Correia Fabrice (2012), On the Reduction of Necessity to Essence, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 639.
As Time Goes By: Eternal Facts in an Ageing Universe
Correia Fabrice, Rosenkranz Sven (2011), As Time Goes By: Eternal Facts in an Ageing Universe, Mentis, Paderborn.
Genevan Ruminations on The Metaphysics of Knowledge
Correia Fabrice, Leech Jessica, Molyneaux M. (2011), Genevan Ruminations on The Metaphysics of Knowledge, in Dialectica, 117.
Grounding and Truth-Functions
Correia Fabrice (2010), Grounding and Truth-Functions, in Logique et Analyse, 251.
Ontological Dependence
Correia Fabrice (2008), Ontological Dependence, in Philosophy Compass, 1013.

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132420 Essentialism and the Mind 01.10.2010 ProDoc
159472 Essences, Identities and Individuals 01.04.2015 Project funding
164937 Haecceitism as a Theory of Individual Essences 01.09.2016 Doc.Mobility
150289 The Nature of Existence: Neglected Questions at the Foundations of Ontology 01.11.2013 Project funding
135262 Essence and Metaphysical Grounds 01.09.2011 SNSF Professorships
139932 Aristote chez les Helve`tes. Onze essais de me´taphysique helve´tique 01.02.2013 Agora