David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 144 (3):373 - 379 (2005)
I look at a recent argument offered in defense of a doctrine which I will call generalized scientific essentialism. This is the doctrine according to which, not only are some facts about substance composition metaphysically necessary, but, in addition, some facts about substance behavior are metaphysically necessary. More specifically, so goes the argument, not only is water necessarily composed of H2O and salt is necessarily composed of NaCl, but, in addition, salt necessarily dissolves in water. If this argument is sound, and if the statement that necessarily salt dissolves in water is a statement of a law of nature, then one conclusion of the argument is that there is at least one metaphysically necessary law of nature. My paper examines the extent to which this kind of argument could be generalized to provide a case for a full-blown scientific essentialism: the doctrine according to which all of the laws of nature are necessary. Or, in terms of dispositions, it is the doctrine according to which natural kinds have all of their powers, capacities and propensities as a matter of necessity
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
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