Skip to content

The Epistemology of Essence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOntology, Modality, and Mind
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe
EditorsAlexander Carruth, Sophie Gibb, John Heil
Place of PublicationOxford
Publisher or commissioning bodyOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780198796299
DatePublished - 23 Oct 2018


The epistemology of essence is a topic that has received relatively little attention, although there are signs that this is changing. The lack of literature engaging directly with the topic is probably partly due to the mystery surrounding the notion of essence itself, and partly due to the sheer difficulty of developing a plausible epistemology. The need for such an account is clear especially for those, like E.J. Lowe, who are committed to a broadly Aristotelian conception of essence, whereby essence plays an important theoretical role. In this chapter, our epistemic access to essence is examined in terms of the a posteriori vs. a priori distinction. The two main accounts to be contrasted are those of David S. Oderberg and E.J. Lowe.

    Research areas

  • essence, a priori, metaphysics, epistemology, modality, essentialism



  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Oxford University Press . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 540 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 23/10/20

    Request copy

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups