...So it should be clear that, contrary to the apparent practice of "essentialists", to find out what is essential to a given kind of thing is not a matter of personal intuitions, but rather a matter of experience, indeed, of scientific experiments, putting the thing in "abnormal" circumstances, making it interact with other things (after all, as St. Thomas says, the nature of the thing is the principle of its proper operation), precisely the way modern science investigates the nature of things. So modern science in no way needs to undermine Aristotelian essentialism. On the contrary, if we manage to recover the adequate conceptual framework of traditional essentialism in the broadest, formal semantical terms, modern science can in principle just as well be integrated into the project of the traditional metaphysical enterprise, studying the first principles of being qua being, as Aristotelian science could. All in all, it seems that the time is ripe for a radical recovery of our lost metaphysical tradition, yet this is possible only through recovering the language in which it is properly conveyed, uniting the formal rigor of contemporary logical techniques with the metaphysical vigor of the pre-modern tradition.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Gyula Klima's Really Interesting Article, which suggests one way the Kripkean revolution should go: