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The Structure of Substances: Why Some Properties Are Essential

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Many philosophers distinguish between the essential and accidental properties of people, animals, artefacts, species, chemical substances and other things. Other philosophers dismiss this distinction as arbitrary and groundless. I shall explain how substances are items whose instances share many properties, and how any such substance must have one super-explanatory property that accounts for this multiple sharing of other properties. I then argue that essential properties are just those properties that are super-explanatory.