Reply to Ellis and to Handfield on essentialism, laws, and counterfactuals

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):581 – 588 (2005)
Abstract
In Lange 2004a, I argued that 'scientific essentialism' [Ellis 2001 cannot account for the characteristic relation between laws and counterfactuals without undergoing considerable ad hoc tinkering. In recent papers, Brian Ellis 2005 and Toby Handfield 2005 have defended essentialism against my charge. Here I argue that Ellis's and Handfield's replies fail. Even in ordinary counterfactual reasoning, the 'closest possible world' where the electron's electric charge is 5% greater may have less overlap with the actual world in its fundamental natural kinds than a 'more distant possible world' where the electron's charge is 5% greater. But more importantly, essentialism's flexibility in being able to accommodate virtually any relation between laws and counterfactuals is a symptom of essentialism's explanatory impotence as far as that relation is concerned.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00048400500338971
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,213
External links

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
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
Natural Laws in Scientific Practice.Marc Lange - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Grounding, Scientific Explanation, and Humean Laws.Marc Lange - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):255-261.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Could the Laws of Nature Change?Marc Lange - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (1):69-92.
Some Laws of Nature Are Metaphysically Contingent.John Roberts - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):445-457.
Where No Mind Has Gone Before: Exploring Laws in Distant and Lonely Worlds.Matthew H. Slater & Chris Haufe - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):265-276.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

204 ( #19,106 of 2,154,177 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #224,605 of 2,154,177 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums