Essence and explanation: a logical mismatch

Aaron Segal*, Noga Gratvol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Let Essentialism be the view that at least some object has at least some property essentially. And let Relative Essentialism be the view that Essentialism is true, but that for any object that has any property essentially, it has it essentially only relative to the value of some parameter. Meghan Sullivan has recently put forward a promising new version of Relative Essentialism, according to which the relevant parameter is an explanatory framework. We argue that despite its promise, Sullivan's version unfortunately fails, due to the mismatch between the logic of essentiality and the logic of explanation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1038-1050
Number of pages13
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Essence
  • essentialism
  • explanation
  • explanation-relative essentialism
  • relative essentialism


Dive into the research topics of 'Essence and explanation: a logical mismatch'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this