David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ratio 23 (1):73-86 (2010)
Debate between Humean contingentists and anti-Humean necessitarians in the philosophy of science is ongoing. One of the most important contemporary anti-Humeans is Alexander Bird. Bird calls the particular version of Humeanism he is opposed to 'categoricalism'. In his paper (2005) and in Chapter 4 of his book (2007) Bird argues against categoricalism about properties and laws. His arguments against categoricalism about properties are intended to support the necessitarian position he calls dispositional monism. His arguments against categoricalism about laws are intended to refute the contingent regularity view of laws (even in its sophisticated Lewisean version) and the nomic necessitation view of Armstrong (which involves a contingent necessitation relation). The general position Bird defends is that properties are necessarily related to the dispositions they bestow on their bearers and laws are necessary truths. I consider two of Bird's arguments against categoricalism about properties, and one of his arguments against the regularity view of laws. Maybe other arguments against categoricalism are persuasive. These, I submit, are not.
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References found in this work BETA
Alexander Bird (2007). Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Oxford University Press.
David K. Lewis (1986). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
Kit Fine (2003). The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and its Matter. Mind 112 (446):195-234.
Sydney Shoemaker (1980). Causality and Properties. In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel 109-35.
Penelope Mackie (2006). How Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties. Published in the United States by Oxford University Press.
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