By Benedikt Paul Göcke (auth.)
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Extra info for A Theory of the Absolute
In this model, any particular that exemplifies exactly the properties to be found in p’s individual essence is identical with p, anything that exemplifies exactly the properties in q’s individual essence is identical with q and so on. Based on the notion of individual essences, it follows that a particular p exists in a possible world w if and only if p’s individual essence could not fail to be exemplified had that world been actual. This follows analytically: if, left to right, p can be said to exist in a possible world w, then by definition p exemplifies properties which are essential to being p and which are essentially unique to being identical with p.
Doing so, however, on the assumption that existence is a two-place second-order property, leads to the conclusion that Santa Claus exists after all. If we assume that Santa Claus is not identical with Santa Claus, then we cannot logically derive the conclusion that he exists. If he were, he would exist. Therefore, if existence is a two-place relation involving proper names, only existing entities are self-identical, which seems to be false. 1 The objectual and the substitutional quantifier Is there a way of preventing the conclusion that Santa Claus exists, yet retaining the true assertion that he is self-identical?
This intuition can be stated as follows: even if a particular p in fact exemplifies a certain property F, we intuitively assume that not all properties a particular exemplifies are essential properties of that particular. If F is not an essential property of p, then there are possible worlds in which p exists without being F. 8 Since according to modal realism, a particular exists in one world only, it follows that particulars exemplify all of their properties essentially, 22 A Theory of the Absolute and that they could not have exemplified any other properties than the ones they in fact exemplify.