David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Explorations (forthcoming)
The title of David Armstrong’s book on the topic asks “What is a Law of Nature?”  The answer I will develop and motivate in this paper is that causal laws are analyses of dispositions. We describe dispositions in terms of subjunctive conditionals. For sugar to be soluble in water, for instance, is just for it to be such that if it were submerged in water (under appropriate conditions), it would dissolve. In general, we can say that for a thing to have a disposition is for it to be such that were certain precipitating conditions to obtain, then a certain manifestation of the disposition would occur.  In the case of solubility, being submerged in water (under appropriate conditions) is the precipitating condition for the manifestation of going into solution. A careful account of the conditions under which sugar would go into solution in water, that is, an account of the specific nature of its solubility, would be a statement of law. That statement of law would tell us something about the nature of sugar in terms of the dispositions it grounds.
|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
Alexander Bird (2002). Laws and Criteria. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (4):511-42.
Michael Fara (2005). Dispositions and Habituals. Noûs 39 (1):43–82.
J. H. Bogart (1987). Legislative Duty and the Independence of Law. Law and Philosophy 6 (2):187 - 203.
Daniel Bonevac, Josh Dever & and David Sosa (2006). The Conditional Fallacy. Philosophical Review 115 (3):273-316.
Stephen Mumford (1994). Dispositions. Cogito 8 (2):141-146.
Alexander Bird (2005). Unexpected a Posteriori Necessary Laws of Nature. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):533 – 548.
Fred Wilson (1985). Dispositions Defined: Harré and Madden on Analyzing Disposition Concepts. Philosophy of Science 52 (4):591-607.
Jesse R. Steinberg (2010). Dispositions and Subjunctives. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):323 - 341.
Erik Anderson (2005). How General is Generalized Scientific Essentialism? Synthese 144 (3):373 - 379.
Alexander Bird (2001). Necessarily, Salt Dissolves in Water. Analysis 61 (4):267–274.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads109 ( #10,480 of 1,099,958 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #304,017 of 1,099,958 )
How can I increase my downloads?