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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Kit Fine’s arguments in Essence and Modality are widely accepted as being a decisive blow against modal essentialism. A selection of replies exist that have done little to counter the general view that modally construed essence is out of touch with what we really mean when we make essentialist claims. I argue that Fine’s arguments fail to strike a decisive blow, and I suggest a new interpretation of the debate that shows why Fine’s arguments fall short of achieving their goal.

Original publication




Journal article


Inquiry (United Kingdom)

Publication Date





816 - 838