David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128 (2013)
Dispositional essentialists argue that physical properties have their causal roles essentially. This is typically taken to mean that physical properties are identical to dispositions. I argue that this is untenable, and that we must instead say that properties bestow dispositions. I explore what it is for a property to have such a role essentially. Dispositional essentialists argue for their view by citing certain epistemological and metaphysical implications, and I appeal to these implications to place desiderata on the concept of essence involved. I argue that the traditional modal theory of essence meets these desiderata, but that the resulting theory wrongly implies that certain dispositions essential to mass are essential to charge, thereby offering a new argument against modal theories of essence. I argue that dispositional essentialism requires a primitive notion of essence, and develop a primitivist theory based on Kit Fine's views. I show that the primitivist theory has all the virtues of the modal alternative, and none of the vices. I develop a novel way of thinking about the relationship between properties, laws and dispositions, and argue that it has distinct advantages over standard dispositional essentialist formulations.
|Keywords||Dispositional essentialism Essence Modality Truthmaking Laws|
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References found in this work BETA
Alexander Bird (2007). Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Oxford University Press.
Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
B. D. Ellis (2001). Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge University Press.
David K. Lewis (1986/2001). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
Citations of this work BETA
Peter Fazekas (2014). Pursuing Natural Piety: Understanding Ontological Emergence and Distinguishing It From Physicalism. Dialectica 68 (1):97-119.
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