The dispositional essentialist view of properties and laws

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413 (2003)
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Abstract

One view of the nature of properties has been crystallized in recent debate by an identity thesis proposed by Shoemaker. The general idea is that there is for behaviour. Well-known criticisms of this approach, however, remain unanswered, and the details of its connections to laws nothing more to being a particular causal property than conferring certain dispositions of nature and the precise ontology of causal properties stand in need of development. This paper examines and defends a dispositional essentialist account of causal properties, combining a Shoemaker-type identity thesis with a Dretske, Tooley, and Armstrong-type view that laws are relations between properties, and a realism about dispositions. The property identity thesis is defended against standard epistemological and metaphysical objections. The metaphysics of causal properties is then clarified by a consideration of the laws relating them, vacuous laws, and ceteris paribus law statements.

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Anjan Chakravartty
University of Miami

Citations of this work

Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):875-895.
Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3421-3441.
Causal Nominalism.Ann Whittle - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;.

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References found in this work

Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1985 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.

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