David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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|
|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
Alexander Bird (2007). Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Oxford University Press.
Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
David K. Lewis (1986/2001). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
B. D. Ellis (2001). Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Peter Fazekas (2014). Pursuing Natural Piety: Understanding Ontological Emergence and Distinguishing It From Physicalism. Dialectica 68 (1):97-119.
Similar books and articles
Robin Findlay Hendry & Darrell P. Rowbottom (2009). Dispositional Essentialism and the Necessity of Laws. Analysis 69 (4):668-677.
Antony Eagle (2009). Causal Structuralism, Dispositional Actualism, and Counterfactual Conditionals. In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press 65--99.
Alexander Bird (2005). Laws and Essences. Ratio 18 (4):437–461.
Richard Corry (2011). Can Dispositional Essences Ground the Laws of Nature? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):263 - 275.
Alexander Bird (2003). Structural Properties. In Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge 155-68.
Vassilios Livanios (2010). Symmetries, Dispositions and Essences. Philosophical Studies 148 (2):295 - 305.
Tomasz Bigaj (2010). Dispositional Monism and the Circularity Objection. Metaphysica 11 (1):39-47.
Peter Menzies (forthcoming). Critical Notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Analysis.
Tyler Hildebrand (2014). Can Bare Dispositions Explain Categorical Regularities? Philosophical Studies 167 (3):569-584.
Toby Handfield (2001). Dispositional Essentialism and the Possibility of a Law-Abiding Miracle. Philosophical Quarterly 51 (205):484-494.
Andreas Hüttemann (2009). Dispositions in Physics. In Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Debating Dispositions. De Gruyter
Markus Schrenk (2010). Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge
Alexander Bird (2009). Essences and Natural Kinds. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge 497--506.
Alice Drewery (2001). Dispositions and Ceteris Paribus Laws. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):723-733.
Added to index2011-10-26
Total downloads491 ( #1,071 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)39 ( #28,970 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?