A common feature of all standard theories of the laws of nature is that they are "absolutist": They take laws to be either all metaphysically necessary or all contingent. Science, however, gives us reason to think that there are laws of both kinds, suggesting that standard theories should make way for "non-absolutist" alternatives: theories which accommodate laws of both modal statuses. In this paper, we set out three explanatory challenges for any candidate non-absolutist theory and discuss the prospects of the (...) two extant candidates in light of these challenges. We then develop our own non-absolutist theory, the essentialist DTA account, which combines the nomic-necessitation or DTA account with an essentialist approach to metaphysical modality in order to meet the three explanatory challenges. Finally, we argue that the distinction between kinematical and dynamical laws found in physical theories supports both non-absolutism in general and our proposed essentialist DTA view in particular. (shrink)
Dispositional Essentialism, as commonly conceived, consists in the claims that at least some of the fundamental properties essentially confer certain causal-nomological roles on their bearers, and that these properties give rise to the natural modalities. As such, the view is generally taken to be committed to a realist conception of properties as either universals or tropes, and to be thus incompatible with nominalism as understood in the strict sense. Pace this common assumption of the ontological import of Dispositional Essentialism, the (...) aim of this paper is to explore a nominalist version of the view, Austere Nominalist Dispositional Essentialism. The core features of the proposed account are that it eschews all kinds of properties, takes certain predicative truths as fundamental, and employs the so-called generic notion of essence. As I will argue, the account is significantly closer to the core idea behind Dispositional Essentialism than the only nominalist account in the vicinity of Dispositional Essentialism that has been offered so far—Ann Whittle’s Causal Nominalism—and is immune to crucial problems that affect this view. (shrink)
In his article ‘Making semantics for essence’ (Inquiry, 2019), Justin Zylstra proposed a truthmaker semantics for essence and used it to evaluate principles regarding the explanatory role of essence. The aim of this article is to show that Zylstra's semantics has implausible implications and thus cannot adequately capture essence.
The thesis of Weak Unrestricted Composition says that every pair of objects has a fusion. This thesis has been argued by Contessa and Smith to be compatible with the world being junky and hence to evade an argument against the necessity of Strong Unrestricted Composition proposed by Bohn. However, neither Weak Unrestricted Composition alone nor the different variants of it that have been proposed in the literature can provide us with a satisfying answer to the special composition question, or so (...) we will argue. We will then go on to explore an alternative family of purely mereological rules in the vicinity of Weak Unrestricted Composition, Cardinal Composition: A plurality of pairwise non-overlapping objects composes an object iff the objects in the plurality are of cardinality smaller than $$\kappa $$ κ. As we will show, all the instances for infinite $$\kappa $$ κ s determine fusion and are compatible with junk, and every instance for a $$\kappa > \aleph _0$$ κ > ℵ 0 is furthermore compatible with gunk and dense chains of parthood. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Tuomas Tahko has argued for a hybrid view of the laws of nature, according to which some physical laws are metaphysically necessary, while others are metaphysically contingent. In this paper, we show that his criterion for distinguishing between these two kinds of laws — which crucially relies on the essences of natural kinds — is on its own unsatisfactory. We then propose an alternative way of drawing the metaphysically necessary/contingent distinction for laws of physics based on (...) the central kinematical/dynamical distinction used in physical theorising, and argue that the criterion can be used to amend Tahko’s own account, but also that it can be combined with different metaphysical views about the source of necessity. (shrink)
This study investigated the knowledge of academic integrity and associated emotions of a small sample of international students studying at Canadian postsecondary institutions using survey methodology. Depending on the survey item, 25–60 participants provided responses. Many respondents appeared knowledgeable about academic integrity and misconduct and reported that expectations in their home countries and in Canada were similar. There was, however, disagreement on the concept of duplicate submission/self-plagiarism, indicating an important gap in educating students about specific aspects of policy in postsecondary (...) education in Canada. In addition, more than a third of respondents provided neutral responses to a situation involving contract cheating, suggesting a lack of certainty in how to respond when witnessing peers’ engagement in outsourcing academic work. Many respondents reported feeling confident upon reading the academic integrity and misconduct policies of their Canadian postsecondary institution, although nearly one third indicated feeling fearful, anxious, and/or confused. These negative feelings were associated with reduced knowledge of academic integrity and misconduct. Future research should further explore the experiences and emotions of international students related to academic integrity and misconduct to better understand the successes and challenges that they face in their postsecondary studies in Canada. Our findings have important implications for the delivery of academic integrity education, enhancing supports and resources, and refining academic integrity policies and procedures to improve the experience of students who come from abroad to study in Canada. (shrink)