David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The view that properties have their causal powers essentially, which I will here call property essentialism, has advocates in Chris Swoyer, Sydney Shoemaker , Alan Chalmers , Brian Ellis  and Caroline Lierse , among a few other authors in recent literature. I am partial to this view as well and I will shortly explain the grounds I find compelling in favor of it. However, we will also see that the essentialist view of properties and laws does not adequately do quite so much as might be hoped. Property essentialism has the straightforward result that at least causal laws are metaphysically necessary. A natural view of such laws is that they are analyses of the essential nature of basic properties in terms of their essential causal powers. Brian Ellis proposes that conservation laws and other laws that may not be exactly causal are best thought of as characterizing the essential properties of worlds. But this further essentialist thesis is not directly relevant to the issues I want to address here.
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