Dispositions and Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
About this topic
Summary One might say that things possess dispositional properties (that these grains are soluble in water, for example) because they have a chemical or physical substructure (here: NaCl) which figures in some law of nature (here: that all NaCl molecules are torn by H2O molecules into Na+ and Cl-). One might go the other way and turn this story on its head: there are laws in nature because objects behave according to the dispositions they have.
Key works The first view used to be the one modern philosophy of science started with: Kaila 1945Carnap 1937. Also, if not directly visible, Lewis's account takes ultimately this route: Lewis 1997. The contrary view is fairly recent and held by, for example: Bird 2007Mumford 2002Ellis 2001.
Introductions Carroll 1994
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  1. Dispositions and the Principle of Least Action Revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  2. Fine-Tuning Arguments and the Concept of Law.John Halpin - manuscript
    The Myopic Anthropic Principle: an attempt to show that the popular anthropic reasoning of our time — often taken to show that laws of nature are fine-tuned by a god for us — should be seen merely as an indication of fine-tuning by us. This preference for short-sightedness in this case is shown (shown?) to support the best-system account of scientific law.
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  3. The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Henrik Lagerlund & Benjamin Hill (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Powers, capacities and dispositions (in what follows I will use these terms synonymously) have become prominent in recent debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy. In this paper I will analyse in some detail a well-known argument from scientific practice to the existence of powers/capacities/dispositions. According to this argument the practice of extrapolating scientific knowledge from one kind of situation to a different kind of situation requires a specific interpretation of laws of nature, namely as attributing (...)
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  4. Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Dispositional Essentialism is a unified anti-Humean account of the metaphysics of low-level physical properties and laws of nature. In this paper, I articulate the view that I label Canonical Dispositional Essentialism (CDE), which comprises a structuralist metaphysics of properties and an account of laws as relations in the property structure. I then present an alternative anti-Humean account of properties and laws (still somewhat in the dispositional essentialist spirit). This account rejects CDE’s structuralist metaphysics of properties in favour of a view (...)
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  5. Dispositionalism: Between Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Anne Sophie Meincke - forthcoming - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism. Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands:
    According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, dispositionalism is receiving growing interest among philosophers of science. (...)
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  6. Dispositionalism. Perspectives From Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Anne Sophie Meincke (ed.) - forthcoming - Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
    According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, it is receiving growing interest among philosophers of science. (...)
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  7. The Case Against Powers.Walter Ott - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    Powers ontologies are currently enjoying a resurgence. This would be dispiriting news for the moderns; in their eyes, to imbue bodies with powers is to slide back into the scholastic slime from which they helped philosophy crawl. I focus on Descartes’s ‘little souls’ argument, which points to a genuine and, I think persisting, defect in powers theories. The problem is that an Aristotelian power is intrinsic to whatever has it. Once this move is accepted, it becomes very hard to see (...)
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  8. What a Law of Nature Is.W. Russ Payne - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
    The title of David Armstrong’s book on the topic asks “What is a Law of Nature?” [1] 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 (...)
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  9. Laws, Dispositions, Memory: Three Hypotheses on the Order of the World.Joël Dolbeault - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (1):101-121.
    The more science progresses, the more it is evident that the physical world presents regularities. This raises a metaphysical problem: why is the world so ordered? In the first part of the article, I attempt to clarify this problem and justify its relevance. In the following three parts, I analyze three hypotheses already formulated in philosophy in response to this problem: the hypothesis that the order of the world is explained 1) by laws of nature, 2) by dispositions of the (...)
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  10. No Laws and (Thin) Powers in, No (Governing) Laws Out.Stavros Ioannidis, Vassilis Livanios & Stathis Psillos - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    Non-Humean accounts of the metaphysics of nature posit either laws or powers in order to account for natural necessity and world-order. We argue that such monistic views face fundamental problems. On the one hand, neo-Aristotelians cannot give unproblematic power-based accounts of the functional laws among quantities offered by physical theories, as well as of the place of conservation laws and symmetries in a lawless ontology; in order to capture these characteristics, commitment to governing laws is indispensable. On the other hand, (...)
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  11. Varieties of Power.Jesse M. Mulder - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (1):45-61.
    Power enthusiasts are engaged in two projects: developing a decent metaphysical account of powers, and applying that account in order to make progress on various other philosophical issues, ranging from narrowly related topics such as causality to further removed ones such as free will, reasoning, or perception. I argue that an intermediate step may be taken, one that explores ‘varieties of power’ while still staying within the realm of, of ‘pure’ powers metaphysics. Taking this intermediate step provides a much more (...)
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  12. Masks, Interferers, Finks, and Mimickers: A Novel Approach.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Theoria:1-24.
    Masks, interferers, finks, reverse finks, and mimickers are troublesome for powers metaphysics insofar as the latter concedes that there are powers with essential stimuli/activation conditions. In this article, I aim at offering a novel approach for solving this problem. In Section 1, I shall present the problem; and in Section 2, I shall briefly show how it also arises within non‐reductive views of powers. Subsequently, in Section 3, I shall examine the failure of the ceteris paribus solution. The pars construens (...)
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  13. Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism - a Hybrid View.Julie Godfrey - 2020 - Dissertation, Durham University
    Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism aim to account for modality. Dispositional Essentialism takes properties to account for laws. In particular, it takes determinate properties to account for laws of nature, which are determinable. Ontic Structural Realism does the reverse. According to Steven French, Ontic Structural Realism takes laws and symmetries to be part of the fundamental structure of the world. Determinate properties are “dependent” on laws. The core difference between Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism’s accounts of modality is (...)
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  14. Individuation and Explanation: A Problem for Dispositionalism.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3863-3883.
    According to dispositionalism, fundamental properties are dispositions—powers that don’t reduce to other properties, laws, or anything else. As dispositions manifest, natural regularities result, so this view appears to explain the uniformity of nature. However, in this paper I’ll argue that there are types of regularities that can’t be explained by dispositionalism. The basic idea is this. All accounts of fundamental dispositions endow properties with a certain sort of structure. This allows explanations of only those regularities that align with such structures. (...)
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  15. Non‐Humean Theories of Natural Necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):1-1.
    Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...)
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  16. Powers, Dispositions and Laws of Nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  17. Regularities, Degrees of Necessity, and Dispositionalism.Xavi Lanao - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (4):513-524.
    Traditionally, philosophers have cashed out the distinction between law-like and accidental regularities sharply: a regularity is either law-like, and thereby necessary, or accidental. However, Mitchell and Lange have drawn attention to the fact that some law-like regularities come in different degrees of necessity. For instance, the regularity expressed by “all electrons are negatively charged” has a greater degree of necessity than the one expressed by “all mammals are warm-blooded”, even if both of them are true. Moreover, Mitchell argues that the (...)
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  18. Soft Selling a Powers-Friendly Ontology: N. E. Williams: The Powers Metaphysic. Oxford: OUP, 2019, 266 Pp, £55.00 HB. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metascience 29 (2):341-344.
  19. Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  20. Essence and the Inference Problem.Ashley Coates - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):915-931.
    Discussions about the nature of essence and about the inference problem for non-Humean theories of nomic modality have largely proceeded independently of each other. In this article I argue that the right conclusions to draw about the inference problem actually depend significantly on how best to understand the nature of essence. In particular, I argue that this conclusion holds for the version of the inference problem developed and defended by Alexander Bird. I argue that Bird’s own argument that this problem (...)
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  21. Power and Influence: The Metaphysics of Reductive Explanation.Richard Corry - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    The world is a complex place, and this complexity is an obstacle to our attempts to explain, predict, and control it. In Power and Influence, Richard Corry investigates the assumptions that are built into the reductive method of explanation—the method whereby we deal with complexity by studying the components of a complex system in relative isolation and use the information so gained to explain or predict the behaviour of the complex whole. He investigates the metaphysical presuppositions built into the reductive (...)
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  22. Dispositionalism and the Metaphysics of Science.Travis Dumsday - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.
    Dispositionalism is the view that causal powers are among the irreducible properties of nature. It has long been among the core competing positions in the metaphysics of laws, but its potential implications for other key debates within metaphysics and the philosophy of science have remained under-explored. Travis Dumsday fills this major gap in the literature by establishing new connections between dispositionalism and such topics as substance ontology, ontic structural realism, material composition, emergentism, natural-kind essentialism, perdurantism, time travel, and spacetime substantivalism. (...)
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  23. Local Qualities.Elizabeth Miller - 2019 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 11. Oxford University Press. pp. 224-242.
    For Humean atomists, cosmic contents supervene on a spatiotemporal mosaic of modally insulated, freely recombinable local qualities. One piecemeal subspecies of Humean atomism promises more than global supervenience—somehow or other—on a separable base; it constrains how exactly elemental inputs yield everything else. Roughly, the distribution of basic local qualities across elements in one part of our cosmos metaphysically suffices for the complete local physical state of that part: anything sharing this part’s basic elemental decoration should share its more complete contents, (...)
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  24. No God, No Powers.James Orr - 2019 - International Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4):411-426.
    One common feature of debates about the best metaphysical analysis of putatively lawful phenomena is the suspicion that nomic realists who locate the modal force of such phenomena in quasi-causal necessitation relations between universals are working with a model of law that cannot convincingly erase its theological pedigree. Nancy Cartwright distills this criticism into slogan form: no God, no laws. Some have argued that a more plausible alternative for nomic realists who reject theism is to ground laws of nature in (...)
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  25. A Theory of Constitutive Tropes.Anthony Parisi - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Iowa
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  26. Is It Time for a Nietzschean Genealogy of Laws of Nature?: Walter Ott, Lydia Patton : Laws of Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, X+264pp, $65 HB. [REVIEW]Jason Winning - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):269-271.
  27. God and Dispositional Essentialism: An Account of the Laws of Nature.Dani Adams - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (2):293-316.
    It is common to appeal to governing laws of nature in order to explain the existence of natural regularities. Classical theism, however, maintains the sovereignty thesis: everything distinct from God is created by him and is under his guidance and control. It follows from this that God must somehow be responsible for natural laws and regularities. Therefore, theists need an account of the relation between regularities, laws, and God. I examine competing accounts of laws of nature and conclude that dispositional (...)
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  28. Are Laws of Nature Consistent with Contingency?Nancy Cartwright & Pedro Merlussi - 2018 - In Walter Ott & Lydia Patton (eds.), Laws of Nature. Oxford, UK:
    Are the laws of nature consistent with contingency about what happens in the world? That depends on what the laws of nature actually are, but it also depends on what they are like. The latter is the concern of this chapter, which looks at three views that are widely endorsed: ‘Humean’ regularity accounts, laws as relations among universals, and disposition/powers accounts. Given an account of what laws are, what follows about how much contingency, and of what kinds, laws allow? In (...)
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  29. Emergentism and the Contingent Solubility of Salt.Lok-Chi Chan - 2018 - Theoria 84 (4):309-324.
    Alexander Bird (2001; 2002; 2007) offers a powerful argument showing that, regardless of whether necessitarianism or contingentism about laws is true, salt necessarily dissolves in water. The argument is that the same laws of nature that are necessary for the constitution of salt necessitate the solubility of salt. This paper shows that Bird’s argument faces a serious objection if the possibility of emergentism – in particular, C. D. Broad’s account – is taken into account. The idea is (roughly) that some (...)
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  30. Natural Laws as Dispositions.Florian Fischer - 2018 - De Gruyter.
    Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the vast topic of laws of nature. Thus, it first outlines the alleged characteristics of the laws of nature, namely truth, objectivity, contingency, necessity, universality, grounding counterfactuals and their role in science. Among these aspects, the peculiar modal status of laws of nature will be identified as the ‘holy grail’ of the debate. The second part of this chapter is concerned with the three main families of theories of laws of nature – neo-humean, (...)
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  31. 5. Dispositional Laws of Nature.Florian Fischer - 2018 - In Natural Laws as Dispositions. De Gruyter. pp. 123-144.
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  32. 1. Laws of Nature.Florian Fischer - 2018 - In Natural Laws as Dispositions. De Gruyter. pp. 3-30.
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  33. Metaphysics of Laws and Ontology of Time.Cord Friebe - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (1):77-89.
    At first glance, every metaphysics of laws can be combined with every ontology of time. In contrast, the paper intends to show that Humeanism requires eternalism and that Power metaphysics must presuppose an existentially dynamical view of temporal existence, i.e. growing block or presentism. The presented arguments turn out to be completely independent of whether the laws of nature are deterministic or probabilistic: the world is non-productive and static or productively dynamical, the future be ‘open’ or not.
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  34. The Space of Possibilities of Dispositional Essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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  35. Hamilton’s Principle and Dispositional Essentialism: Friends or Foes?Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (1):59-71.
    Most recently Smart and Thébault revived an almost forgotten debate between Katzav and Ellis on the compatibility of Hamilton’s Principle with Dispositional Essentialism. Katzav’s arguments inter alia aim to show that HP presupposes a kind of metaphysical contingency which is at odds with the basic tenets of DE, and offers explanations of a different type and direction from those given by DE. In this paper I argue that though dispositional essentialists might adequately respond to these arguments, the question about the (...)
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  36. Do Categorical Properties Confer Dispositions on Their Bearers?Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):61-82.
    Categorical Monism (that is, the view that all fundamental natural properties are purely categorical) has recently been challenged by a number of philosophers. In this paper, I examine a challenge which can be based on Gabriele Contessa’s [10] defence of the view that only powers can confer dispositions. In his paper Contessa argues against what he calls the Nomic Theory of Disposition Conferral (NTDC). According to NTDC, in each world in which they exist, (categorical) properties confer specific dispositions on their (...)
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  37. Dis-Positioning Euthyphro.Ben Page - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):31-55.
    The Euthyphro objection is often perceived, rightly or wrongly, as the king objection to theistic meta-ethics. This paper proposes a response that hasn’t been much explored within the contemporary literature, based on the metaphysics of dispositions and natural law theory. The paper will first contend that there is a parallel between ways theists conceptualise God’s role in creating laws of nature and the ways God creates goods. Drawing upon these parallels I propose a possible response to the dilemma, where this (...)
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  38. II—Evolved Powers, Artefact Powers, and Dispositional Explanations.Barbara Vetter - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):277-297.
    Alexander Bird puts forward a modest version of anti-Humeanism about the non-fundamental, by providing an argument for the existence of a certain select class of non-fundamental but sparse dispositions: those that have an evolutionary function. I argue that his argument over-generates, so much so that the sparse–abundant distinction, and with it the tenet of his anti-Humean view, becomes obsolete. I suggest an alternative way of understanding anti-Humeanism in the non-fundamental realm, one which is not concerned with the existence of sparse (...)
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  39. Lawful Mimickers.Umut Baysan - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):488-494.
    The nomic view of dispositions holds that properties confer dispositions on their bearers with nomological necessity. The argument against nomic dispositions challenges the nomic view: if the nomic view is true, then objects don't have dispositions, but 'mimic' them. This paper presents an explication of disposition conferral which shows that the nomic view is not vulnerable to this objection.
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  40. Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, by Barbara Vetter: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, Pp. Xii + 335, £45. [REVIEW]James M. Bucknell - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):207-208.
  41. Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws.Heather Demarest - 2017 - In Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.), Causal Powers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-53.
    I argue that the best scientific package is anti-Humean in its ontology, but Humean in its laws. This is because potencies and the best system account of laws complement each other surprisingly well. If there are potencies, then the BSA is the most plausible account of the laws of nature. Conversely, if the BSA is the correct theory of laws, then formulating the laws in terms of potencies rather than categorical properties avoids three serious objections: the mismatch objection, the impoverished (...)
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  42. Metaphysics of Science: A Systematic and Historical Introduction.Markus Schrenk - 2017 - London & New York: Routledge.
    Metaphysics and science have a long but troubled relationship. In the twentieth century the Logical Positivists argued metaphysics was irrelevant and that philosophy should be guided by science. However, metaphysics and science attempt to answer many of the same, fundamental questions: What are laws of nature? What is causation? What are natural kinds? -/- In this book, Markus Schrenk examines and explains the central questions and problems in the metaphysics of science. He reviews the development of the field from the (...)
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  43. Science in Metaphysics : Exploring the Metaphysics of Properties and Laws.Livanios Vassilis - 2017 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book explores the dispositional and categorical debates on the metaphysics of properties. It defends the view that all fundamental properties and relations are contingently categorical, while also examining alternative accounts of the nature of properties. Drawing upon both established research and the author's own investigation into the broader discipline of the metaphysics of science, this book provides a comprehensive study of the many views and opinions regarding a most debatable topic in contemporary metaphysics.
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  44. Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong.Francesco Federico Calemi (ed.) - 2016 - De Gruyter.
  45. Armstrong on Dispositions and Laws of Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2016 - In Francesco Federico Calemi (ed.), Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong. De Gruyter. pp. 161-176.
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  46. Universals, Laws, and Governance.Matthew Tugby - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1147-1163.
    Proponents of the dispositional theory of properties typically claim that their view is not one that offers a realist, governing conception of laws. My first aim is to show that, contrary to this claim, if one commits to dispositionalism then one does not automatically give up on a robust, realist theory of laws. This is because dispositionalism can readily be developed within a Platonic framework of universals. Second, I argue that there are good reasons for realist dispositionalists to favour a (...)
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  47. Laws of nature and causal powers: Two illusory solutions.Sebastián Briceño - 2015 - Alpha (Osorno) 41:73-85.
    La metafísica de la Superveniencia Humeana ha sido atacada por dos alternativas explícitamente anti-Humeanas: el Realismo Nómico y el Esencialismo Disposicional. Cada una de estas alternativas ofrece una explicación ontológica de la actual distribución de instanciaciones de primer orden. Ambas sostienen, contra el Humeano, que esta distribución no es un accidente metafísico. En este artículo argumento que las explicaciones ofrecidas por ellas son ilusorias. -/- The metaphysics of Humean Supervenience has been attacked by two explicitly anti-Humean alternatives: Nomic Realism and (...)
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  48. Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions.Gabriele Contessa - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):160-176.
    According to power theorists, properties are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although the power theory is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view according to which what dispositions a property confers on its bearers is contingent on what the laws of nature happen to be. This paper argues that the nomic theory is inconsistent, for, if it were correct, then properties would not confer any (...)
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  49. The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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  50. Causal Powers as Metaphysical Grounds for Laws or Nature.Michael Ghins - 2014 - Epistemologia 37 (2):183-201.
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