On the Nature and Structure of Reality

  • Author / Creator
    Zylstra, Justin
  • This dissertation defends an essence first approach to metaphysics. We begin with identifying metaphysical conceptions of identity, existence, and truth, as associated with qualified versions of the questions ‘What is it [really]?’, ‘Does it [really] exist?’, and ‘Is it [really] the case?’. The concept of essence is identified with the metaphysical conception of identity, whereas the concept of structure flows from the metaphysical conceptions of existence and truth when structural claims are added: that what does not really exist or is not really the case owes its existence or truth to what really exists or what is really the case. It is then systematically shown that the concept of essence can be used to define the metaphysical conceptions of existence and truth [i.e. ontological fundamentality and alethic fundamentality], as well as the structuring relations of ontological dependence and alethic ground that flow from them. It is furthermore shown how we can define the notions of metaphysical necessity [i.e. what must be the case without qualification] and generic essence [i.e. what it is to be thus-and-so] within the same essentialist framework. However, the definitions provided are not merely an exercise in ideological simplification. For it is claimed that they offer superior accounts of the notions defined. Provided we can sensibly take these notions to be constitutive of metaphysics, we arrive at the essence first approach.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2016-06:Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Philosophy
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kathrin Koslicki (Philosophy, University of Alberta)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Travis Dumsday (Philosophy, Concordia University)
    • Philip Corkum (Philosophy, University of Alberta)
    • Bernard Linsky (Philosophy, University of Alberta)
    • Michael Raven (Philosophy, University of Victoria)