Dialectica 52 (2):83–101 (1998)
SummaryThere are two rival ways in which events in the world can be explained: the covering law way and the dispositionalist way. The covering law model, which takes the law of nature as its fundamental explanatory unit, faces a number of renown difficulties. Rather than attempt to patch up this approach, the alternative dispositionalist strategy is recommended. On this view, general facts are dependent upon particular facts about what things do, rather than vice versa. This way of viewing the world is not only more intuitive but also handles some of the notorious problems faced by laws; such as those of probabilistic and unrealized facts. The dispositionalist strategy faces its own difficulties of explaining generality and contingency of behaviour. It is shown, however, that at least these difficulties should not dissuade the dispositionalist. The prospects for a convincing dispositionalist ontology to replace one based on laws of nature are thus healthy
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