Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws

Analysis 69 (4):668-677 (2009)
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Abstract

We argue that the inference from dispositional essentialism about a property (in the broadest sense) to the metaphysical necessity of laws involving it is invalid. Let strict dispositional essentialism be any view according to which any given property’s dispositional character is precisely the same across all possible worlds. Clearly, any version of strict dispositional essentialism rules out worlds with different laws involving that property. Permissive dispositional essentialism is committed to a property’s identity being tied to its dispositional profile or causal role, yet is compatible with moderate interworld variation in a property’s dispositional profile. We provide such a model of dispositional essentialism about a property and metaphysical contingency of the laws involving it.

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Author Profiles

Darrell P. Rowbottom
Lingnan University
Robin Hendry
Durham University

Citations of this work

The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism.David Yates - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
Ontological reduction and molecular structure.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (2):183-191.

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References found in this work

What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.
Consciousness and Mind.David M. Rosenthal - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press UK.
Laws in nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - New York: Routledge.
What is a Law of Nature?David Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

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