In Defense of Platonic Essentialism About Numbers

  • Megan Wu


In defense of anti-essentialism, pragmatist Richard Rorty holds that we may think of all objects as if they were numbers. I find that Rorty’s metaphysics hinges on two rather weak arguments against the essences of numbers. In contrast, Plato’s metaphysics offers a plausible definition of essentiality by which numbers do have essential properties. Further, I argue that Rorty’s argumentative mistake is mischaracterizing Plato’s definition. I conclude that Plato’s definition of “essential” is a robust one which implies that many properties, beyond those we might intuitively think of, can count as essential properties of objects.

How to Cite
Wu, M. (2021). In Defense of Platonic Essentialism About Numbers. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, 14(1), 103 - 113. Retrieved from