Collective Essence and Monotonicity
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This paper focuses on the concept of collective essence: that some truths are essential to many items taken together. For example, that it is essential to conjunction and negation that they are truth-functionally complete. The concept of collective essence is one of the main innovations of recent work on the theory of essence. In a sense, this innovation is natural, since we make all sorts of plural predications. It stands to reason that there should be a distinction between essential and accidental plural predications if there is a distinction among singular predications. In this paper I defend the view that the concept of collective essence is governed by the principle of Monotonicity: that something is essential to some items only if it is essential to any items to which they belong.
Thanks to Louis deRosset, Kathrin Koslicki, Mike Raven, Riin Sirkel, and to anonymous referees for helpful comments.
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