David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophia 34 (4):405-410 (2006)
Armstrong holds that a law of nature is a certain sort of structural universal which, in turn, fixes causal relations between particular states of affairs. His claim that these nomic structural universals explain causal relations commits him to saying that such universals are irreducible, not supervenient upon the particular causal relations they fix. However, Armstrong also wants to avoid Plato’s view that a universal can exist without being instantiated, a view which he regards as incompatible with naturalism. This construal of naturalism forces Armstrong to say that universals are abstractions from a certain class of particulars; they are abstractions from first-order states of affairs, to be more precise. It is here argued that these two tendencies in Armstrong cannot be reconciled: To say that universals are abstractions from first-order states of affairs is not compatible with saying that universals fix causal relations between particulars. Causal relations are themselves states of affairs of a sort, and Armstrong’s claim that a law is a kind of structural universal is best understood as the view that any given law logically supervenes on its corresponding causal relations. The result is an inconsistency, Armstrong having to say that laws do not supervene on particular causal relations while also being committed to the view that they do so supervene. The inconsistency is perhaps best resolved by denying that universals are abstractions from states of affairs.
|Keywords||laws of nature states of affairs universals|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
D. M. Armstrong (1982). Laws of Nature as Relations Between Universals and as Universals. Philosophical Topics 13 (1):7-24.
Philipp Keller (2007). A World of Truthmakers. In Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (ed.), Metaphysics and Truthmakers. Ontos Verlag. 18--105.
Javier Kalhat (2008). Structural Universals and the Principle of Uniqueness of Composition. Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (1):57-77.
Joan Pages (1997). Armstrong on the Role of Laws in Counterfactual Supporting. Theoria 12 (2):337-342.
Ernâni Magalhães (2006). Armstrong on the Spatio-Temporality of Universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):301 – 308.
Peter Forrest (2006). The Operator Theory of Instantiation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):213 – 228.
Andrew Newman (1992). The Physical Basis of Predication. Cambridge University Press.
Kris McDaniel (2009). Structure-Making. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):251-274.
Joan Pagès (2002). Structural Universals and Formal Relations. Synthese 131 (2):215 - 221.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads133 ( #7,424 of 1,101,878 )
Recent downloads (6 months)38 ( #4,037 of 1,101,878 )
How can I increase my downloads?