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Essays on Essence and Existence

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2022.04.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Bob Hale, Jessica Leech (ed.), Essays on Essence and Existence, Oxford University Press, (2020), 305pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN: 9780198854296.

Reviewed by Sam Cowling, Denison University

Bob Hale passed away in 2017. This volume, edited by Jessica Leech, collects fifteen essays by Hale including three co-authored pieces, all of which were written after Hale’s 2013 book, Necessary Beings. (Nine of the essays are published elsewhere.) All but one of the essays are concerned with metaphysics or the philosophy of mathematics. Even so, the collection is without a unified theme and the papers range freely across topics such as essence, ontology, abstraction, truthmaking, modality, and analyticity. The fact that these papers follow the publication of Necessary Beings does a lot to explain their origin: most of them take up themes and open questions from Hale’s book, and the overall metaphysical picture remains unchanged. Thankfully, Hale is an exemplary tour guide…

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