David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
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.
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.
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