Apples, Oranges & Gay Marriage

Or the Name Game & Hidden Assumptions

Ever since Aristotle, the philosophical categories of accident and an essence have provided a helpful way of distinguishing between the properties of a thing that are absolutely necessary for that thing to be what it is (essential properties) and those properties which a thing may possess but that are not absolutely necessary for its existence (accidental properties). For example, the property of greenness is accidental to apples, since an apple could be red or yellow and still be an apple. But "fruitiness" is an essential property of an apple, since, if it were not a fruit, it would not be an apple.

Put another way, an accident is an attribute not...


is the author of Saints and Scoundrels (Canon Press) and has a Ph.M. in history from King’s College, London. He is currently working on a Master’s in library science through the University of Oklahoma. He works as a freelance writer and researcher for a variety of publications and operates a blog at

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #22, fall 2012 Copyright © 2020 Salvo |


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