David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This book advocates dispositional essentialism, the view that natural properties have dispositional essences.1 So, for example, the essence of the property of being negatively charged is to be disposed to attract positively charged objects. From this fact it follows that it is a law that all negatively charged objects will attract positively 10 charged objects; and indeed that this law is metaphysically necessary. Since the identity of the property of being negatively charged is determined by its being related in a certain way to the property of being positively charged, in any world in which these properties exist they must be related so that all negatively charged objects attract positively charged objects. 15 Bird opposes his dispositional essentialism to the view that properties are categorical in nature, with their identities grounded in quiddities that are not exhausted by their relations to other properties. The main exponents of this view are D.M. Armstrong and David Lewis. They take the laws of nature to be contingent though they entertain very different views about their nature: Armstrong is a necessitarian 20 about laws, taking them to be relations of nomic necessitation between universals, while Lewis is a Humean about laws who takes them to be a special kind of regularity. The book is a sustained defence of the dispositional essentialist conception of properties and laws against the competing conceptions espoused by Armstrong and Lewis. One rough way to characterize the difference between these conceptions is to say that 25 the categoricalist sees properties as passive and inert with the laws of nature being fixed independently of the nature of properties whereas, in contrast, the dispositional essentialist sees properties as active potencies from which the laws of nature automatically spring. A slightly more tendentious way to express the difference is to say, as Bird does, that the categoricalist views embrace the Humean doctrine that there are no 30 necessary connexions in nature, while the dispositional essentialist view, on the other hand, repudiates this doctrine..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Stephen Mumford (2005). Laws and Lawlessness. Synthese 144 (3):397?413.
Tomasz Bigaj (2010). Dispositional Monism and the Circularity Objection. Metaphysica 11 (1):39-47.
Alexander Bird (2008). Review of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
Harold W. Noonan (2010). Bird Against the Humeans. Ratio 23 (1):73-86.
Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
Alexander Bird (2005). The Dispositionalist Conception of Laws. Foundations of Science 10 (4):353-70.
Richard Corry (2011). Can Dispositional Essences Ground the Laws of Nature? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):263 - 275.
Alexander Bird (2003). Structural Properties. In Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge. 155-68.
Alexander Bird (2005). Laws and Essences. Ratio 18 (4):437–461.
Added to index2009-09-16
Total downloads241 ( #2,367 of 1,413,391 )
Recent downloads (6 months)30 ( #6,482 of 1,413,391 )
How can I increase my downloads?