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Synopsis

Real Essentialism presents a comprehensive defence of neo-Aristotelian essentialism. Do objects have essences? Must they be the kinds of things they are in spite of the changes they undergo? Can we know what things are really like – can we define and classify reality? Many if not most philosophers doubt this, influenced by centuries of empiricism, and by the anti-essentialism of Wittgenstein, Quine, Popper, and other thinkers. Real Essentialism reinvigorates the tradition of realist, essentialist metaphysics, defending the reality and knowability of essence, the possibility of objective, immutable definition, and its relevance to contemporary scientific and metaphysical issues such as whether essence transcends physics and chemistry, the essence of life, the nature of biological species, and the nature of the person.

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