Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||In this paper we discuss the compatibility of Alexander Bird's dispositional essentialism with one of our most fundamental physical principles - the principle of least action. Joel Katzav argues that this principle presupposes the contingency of its holding (that is, it presupposes that the system could have followed paths other than that which minimises action), and that this is ruled out by dispositional essentialism. However, Bird argues that only the logical possibility of paths different to the actual path followed is required, and as dispositional essentialism only rules out the metaphysical possibility, Katzav's argument fails. Although we accept Bird's response, on the face of it he is still open to a number of objections; in particular, it looks as though the actual paths being those that minimise the action of the system would be simply a cosmic coincidence, as even if there were a 'principle of least action' disposition, each particular would have to instantiate it contingently. In this paper we discuss what kind of disposition would be required to explain this fundamental principle, and conclude that if one particular instantiates it, it is metaphysically necessary that it be instantiated by all particulars in that world; it turns out that the cosmic coincidence is not so cosmic after all, and so Bird's dispositional essentialism is not threatened.|
|Keywords||Dispositional Essentialism Alexander Bird The Principle of Least Action Brian Ellis Powers|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Peter Menzies (forthcoming). Critical Notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Analysis.
Markus Schrenk (2010). Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.
Toby Handfield (2001). Dispositional Essentialism and the Possibility of a Law-Abiding Miracle. Philosophical Quarterly 51 (205):484-494.
Brian Ellis & Caroline Lierse (1994). Dispositional Essentialism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):27 – 45.
Alexander Bird (2003). Structural Properties. In Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge.
Tomasz Bigaj (2010). Dispositional Monism and the Circularity Objection. Metaphysica 11 (1):39-47.
Robin Findlay Hendry & Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). Dispositional Essentialism and the Necessity of Laws. Analysis 69 (4):668-677.
Vassilios Livanios (2008). Bird and the Dispositional Essentialist Account of Spatiotemporal Relations. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 39 (2):383 - 394.
Added to index2009-12-02
Total downloads88 ( #10,130 of 739,392 )
Recent downloads (6 months)19 ( #6,788 of 739,392 )
How can I increase my downloads?