Dispositions and Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
About this topic
Summary One might say that things possess dispositional properties (that these grains are soluble in water, for example) because they have a chemical or physical substructure (here: NaCl) which figures in some law of nature (here: that all NaCl molecules are torn by H2O molecules into Na+ and Cl-). One might go the other way and turn this story on its head: there are laws in nature because objects behave according to the dispositions they have.
Key works The first view used to be the one modern philosophy of science started with: Kaila 1945Carnap 1937. Also, if not directly visible, Lewis's account takes ultimately this route: Lewis 1997. The contrary view is fairly recent and held by, for example: Bird 2007Mumford 2004Ellis 2001.
Introductions Carroll 1994
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189 found
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1 — 50 / 189
  1. Dispositions and the principle of least action revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  2. Fine-tuning arguments and the concept of law.John Halpin - manuscript
    The Myopic Anthropic Principle: an attempt to show that the popular anthropic reasoning of our time — often taken to show that laws of nature are fine-tuned by a god for us — should be seen merely as an indication of fine-tuning by us. This preference for short-sightedness in this case is shown (shown?) to support the best-system account of scientific law.
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  3. Humean Nomic Essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Humeanism -- the idea that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences -- and Nomic Essentialism -- the idea that properties essentially play the nomic roles that they do -- are two of the most important and influential positions in the metaphysics of science. Traditionally, it has been thought that these positions were incompatible competitors. We disagree. We argue that there is an attractive version of Humeanism that captures the idea that, for example, mass essentially plays the role that (...)
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  4. Dispositionalism: Between Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Anne Sophie Meincke - forthcoming - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism. Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands:
    According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, dispositionalism is receiving growing interest among philosophers of science. (...)
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  5. What a Law of Nature is.W. Russ Payne - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
    The title of David Armstrong’s book on the topic asks “What is a Law of Nature?” [1] The answer I will develop and motivate in this paper is that causal laws are analyses of dispositions. We describe dispositions in terms of subjunctive conditionals. For sugar to be soluble in water, for instance, is just for it to be such that if it were submerged in water (under appropriate conditions), it would dissolve. In general, we can say that for a thing (...)
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  6. Extended Dispositionalism and Determinism.Jonas Werner - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Modal dispositionalists hold that dispositions provide the foundation of metaphysical necessity and possibility. According to the kind of modal dispositionalism that can be found in the present literature, a proposition p is possible just in case some things are disposed to be such that p. In the first part of this paper I show that combining this classic form of dispositionalism with the assumptions that the laws of nature are necessary and deterministic and that all dispositions are forward-looking in time (...)
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  7. How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):317-332.
    This paper defends an account of the laws of nature in terms of irreducibly modal properties (aka powers) from the threat posed by functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. It thus shows how powers theorists can avoid ad hoc explanations and resist an inflated ontology of powers and governing laws. The key is to understand laws not as flowing from the essences of powers, as per Bird (2007), but as features of a description of how powers are possibly distributed, as (...)
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  8. Unmanifested powers and universals.Ashley Coates - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-22.
    According to a well-known argument against dispositional essentialism, the nature of unmanifested token powers leaves dispositional essentialists with an objectionable commitment to the reality of non-existent entities. The idea is that, because unmanifested token powers are directed at their non-existent token manifestations, they require the reality of those manifestations. Arguably the most promising response to this argument works by claiming that, if properties are universals, dispositional directedness need only entail the reality of actually existing manifestation types. I argue that this (...)
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  9. Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):875-895.
    This paper shows how a niche account of the metaphysics of laws of nature and physical properties—the Powers-BSA—can underpin both a sense in which the laws are metaphysically necessary and a sense in which it is true that the laws could have been different. The ability to reconcile entrenched disagreement should count in favour of a philosophical theory, so this paper constitutes a novel argument for the Powers-BSA by showing how it can reconcile disagreement about the laws’ modal status. This (...)
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  10. Pandispositionalism and the metaphysics of powers.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-21.
    Some philosophers maintain that physical properties are irreducibly modal: that properties are powers. Powers are then employed to provide explanations of other phenomena of philosophical interest such as laws of nature and modality. There is, however, a dispute among powers theorists about how far the powers ontology extends: are all manner of properties at all levels of fundamentality powers or are powers only to be found among the fundamental properties? This paper argues that the answer to this question depends on (...)
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  11. An Armstrongian defense of dispositional monist accounts of laws of nature.Mousa Mohammadian - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (3):1-15.
    Bird reveals an important problem at the heart of Armstrong’s theory of laws of nature: to explain how a law necessitates its corresponding regularity, Armstrong is committed to a vicious regress. In his very brief response, Armstrong gestures towards an argument that, as he admits, is more of a “speculation.” Later, Barker and Smart argue that a very similar problem threatens Bird’s dispositional monist theory of laws of nature and he is committed to a similar vicious regress. In this paper, (...)
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  12. Kinds and Explanations.Petter Sandstad & Ludger Jansen - 2022 - In Mirosław Szatkowski (ed.), E.J. Lowe and Ontology. New York, USA: pp. 165-187.
    Sparrows fly because they are birds. This mushroom is poisonous because it is an Amanita muscaria. Pointing out the kind to which things belong explains many of their properties. Jonathan Lowe’s four-category ontology and his account of laws of nature provide a framework to account for the explanatory appeal of referring to kind membership. For Lowe, “Electron has Unit-negative charge” is a typical example for a law of nature: a kind universal characterized by a property universal. We present both Lowe’s (...)
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  13. Nominalist dispositional essentialism.Lisa Vogt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    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 (...)
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  14. Essence and the inference problem.Ashley Coates - 2021 - Synthese 198 (2):915-931.
    Discussions about the nature of essence and about the inference problem for non-Humean theories of nomic modality have largely proceeded independently of each other. In this article I argue that the right conclusions to draw about the inference problem actually depend significantly on how best to understand the nature of essence. In particular, I argue that this conclusion holds for the version of the inference problem developed and defended by Alexander Bird. I argue that Bird’s own argument that this problem (...)
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  15. Laws, Dispositions, Memory: Three Hypotheses on the Order of the World.Joël Dolbeault - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (1):101-121.
    The more science progresses, the more it is evident that the physical world presents regularities. This raises a metaphysical problem: why is the world so ordered? In the first part of the article, I attempt to clarify this problem and justify its relevance. In the following three parts, I analyze three hypotheses already formulated in philosophy in response to this problem: the hypothesis that the order of the world is explained 1) by laws of nature, 2) by dispositions of the (...)
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  16. Phenomenal roles: a dispositional account of bodily pain.Simone Gozzano - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8091-8112.
    In this paper I argue that bodily pain, as a phenomenal property, is an essentially and substantial dispositional property. To this end, I maintain that this property is individuated by its phenomenal roles, which can be internal -individuating the property per se- and external -determining further phenomenal or physical properties or states. I then argue that this individuation allows phenomenal roles to be organized in a necessarily asymmetrical net, thereby overcoming the circularity objection to dispositionalism. Finally, I provide reasons to (...)
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  17. Away with Dispositional Essences in Trope Theory.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. London, UK, New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 106-123.
    A specific variety of formal causation is dispositional essentialism. This chapter argues that dispositional essentialism is incompatible with any trope bundle theory committed to the primitive identity of tropes, such as Keith Campbell’s account and the authors’ own Strong Nuclear Theory. Dispositional essentialism would render at least some tropes identity-dependent on other tropes, while all tropes must be considered identity-independent existents in these trope theories. Furthermore, dispositional essentialism relies on the problematic notion of dispositional essence, and it remains unclear whether (...)
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  18. Varieties of dispositional essentialism about natural laws.Salim Hirèche - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-28.
    An important task for metaphysicians and philosophers of science is to account for laws of nature – in particular, how they distinguish themselves from ‘mere’ regularities, and the modal force they are endowed with, ‘natural necessity’. Dispositional essentialism about laws is roughly the view that laws distinguish themselves by being grounded in the essences of natural entities. This paper does not primarily concern how essentialism compares to its main rivals – Humeanism and Armstrongeanism. Rather, it distinguishes and comparatively assesses various (...)
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  19. The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - 2021 - In Stathis Psillos, Henrik Lagerlund & Benjamin Hill (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 168-185.
    Powers, capacities and dispositions (in what follows I will use these terms synonymously) have become prominent in recent debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy. In this paper I will analyse in some detail a well-known argument from scientific practice to the existence of powers/capacities/dispositions. According to this argument the practice of extrapolating scientific knowledge from one kind of situation to a different kind of situation requires a specific interpretation of laws of nature, namely as attributing (...)
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  20. A Minimal Metaphysics for Scientific Practice.Andreas Hüttemann - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    What are the metaphysical commitments which best 'make sense' of our scientific practice? In this book, Andreas Hüttemann provides a minimal metaphysics for scientific practice, i.e. a metaphysics that refrains from postulating any structure that is explanatorily irrelevant. Hüttemann closely analyses paradigmatic aspects of scientific practice, such as prediction, explanation and manipulation, to consider the questions whether and what metaphysical presuppositions best account for these practices. He looks at the role which scientific generalisation play in predicting, testing, and explaining the (...)
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  21. No laws and (thin) powers in, no (governing) laws out.Stavros Ioannidis, Vassilis Livanios & Stathis Psillos - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    Non-Humean accounts of the metaphysics of nature posit either laws or powers in order to account for natural necessity and world-order. We argue that such monistic views face fundamental problems. On the one hand, neo-Aristotelians cannot give unproblematic power-based accounts of the functional laws among quantities offered by physical theories, as well as of the place of conservation laws and symmetries in a lawless ontology; in order to capture these characteristics, commitment to governing laws is indispensable. On the other hand, (...)
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  22. Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3421-3441.
    Dispositional Essentialism is a unified anti-Humean account of the metaphysics of low-level physical properties and laws of nature. In this paper, I articulate the view that I label Canonical Dispositional Essentialism, which comprises a structuralist metaphysics of properties and an account of laws as relations in the property structure. I then present an alternative anti-Humean account of properties and laws. This account rejects CDE’s structuralist metaphysics of properties in favour of a view of properties as qualitative grounds of dispositions and (...)
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  23. Varieties of Power.Jesse M. Mulder - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (1):45-61.
    Power enthusiasts are engaged in two projects: developing a decent metaphysical account of powers, and applying that account in order to make progress on various other philosophical issues, ranging from narrowly related topics such as causality to further removed ones such as free will, reasoning, or perception. I argue that an intermediate step may be taken, one that explores ‘varieties of power’ while still staying within the realm of, of ‘pure’ powers metaphysics. Taking this intermediate step provides a much more (...)
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  24. Causality and determination revisited.Dawa Ometto - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14993-15013.
    It seems to be a platitude that there must be a close connection between causality and the laws of nature: the laws somehow cover in general what happens in each specific case of causation. But so-called singularists disagree, and it is often thought that the locus classicus for that kind of dissent is Anscombe's famous Causality & Determination. Moreover, it is often thought that Anscombe's rejection of determinism is premised on singularism. In this paper, I show that this is a (...)
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  25. The Case Against Powers.Walter Ott - 2021 - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-167.
    Powers ontologies are currently enjoying a resurgence. This would be dispiriting news for the moderns; in their eyes, to imbue bodies with powers is to slide back into the scholastic slime from which they helped philosophy crawl. I focus on Descartes’s ‘little souls’ argument, which points to a genuine and, I think persisting, defect in powers theories. The problem is that an Aristotelian power is intrinsic to whatever has it. Once this move is accepted, it becomes very hard to see (...)
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  26. Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism - a hybrid view.Julie Godfrey - 2020 - Dissertation, Durham University
    Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism aim to account for modality. Dispositional Essentialism takes properties to account for laws. In particular, it takes determinate properties to account for laws of nature, which are determinable. Ontic Structural Realism does the reverse. According to Steven French, Ontic Structural Realism takes laws and symmetries to be part of the fundamental structure of the world. Determinate properties are “dependent” on laws. The core difference between Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism’s accounts of modality is (...)
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  27. Individuation and explanation: a problem for dispositionalism.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3863-3883.
    According to dispositionalism, fundamental properties are dispositions—powers that don’t reduce to other properties, laws, or anything else. As dispositions manifest, natural regularities result, so this view appears to explain the uniformity of nature. However, in this paper I’ll argue that there are types of regularities that can’t be explained by dispositionalism. The basic idea is this. All accounts of fundamental dispositions endow properties with a certain sort of structure. This allows explanations of only those regularities that align with such structures. (...)
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  28. Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):1-1.
    Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...)
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  29. Powers, dispositions and laws of nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  30. Regularities, Degrees of Necessity, and Dispositionalism.Xavi Lanao - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (4):513-524.
    Traditionally, philosophers have cashed out the distinction between law-like and accidental regularities sharply: a regularity is either law-like, and thereby necessary, or accidental. However, Mitchell and Lange have drawn attention to the fact that some law-like regularities come in different degrees of necessity. For instance, the regularity expressed by “all electrons are negatively charged” has a greater degree of necessity than the one expressed by “all mammals are warm-blooded”, even if both of them are true. Moreover, Mitchell argues that the (...)
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  31. Soft selling a powers-friendly ontology: N. E. Williams: The powers metaphysic. Oxford: OUP, 2019, 266 pp, £55.00 HB. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metascience 29 (2):341-344.
  32. Dispositionalism: Perspectives From Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science.Anne Sophie Meincke (ed.) - 2020 - Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
    According to dispositional realism, or dispositionalism, the entities inhabiting our world possess irreducibly dispositional properties – often called ‘powers’ – by means of which they are sources of change. Dispositionalism has become increasingly popular among metaphysicians in the last three decades as it offers a realist account of causation and provides novel avenues for understanding modality, laws of nature, agency, free will and other key concepts in metaphysics. At the same time, it is receiving growing interest among philosophers of science. (...)
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  33. Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  34. The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Metaphysics is sensitive to the conceptual tools we choose to articulate metaphysical problems. Those tools are a lens through which we view metaphysical problems; the same problems look different when we change the lens. There has recently been a shift to "postmodal" conceptual tools: concepts of ground, essence, and fundamentality. This shift transforms the debate over structuralism in the metaphysics of science and philosophy of mathematics. Structuralist theses say that patterns are "prior" to the nodes in the patterns. In modal (...)
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  35. Explanatory dispositionalism: What anti-humeans should say.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2051-2075.
    Inspired both by our ordinary understanding of the world and by reflection on science, anti-Humeanism is a growing trend in metaphysics. Anti-Humeans reject the Lewisian doctrine of Humean supervenience that the world is “just one little thing and then another”, and argue instead that dispositions, powers, or capacities provide connection and activity in nature. But how exactly are we to understand the shared commitment of this anti-Humean movement? I argue that this kind of anti-Humeanism, at its most general level, is (...)
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  36. Power and Influence: The Metaphysics of Reductive Explanation.Richard Corry - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    The world is a complex place, and this complexity is an obstacle to our attempts to explain, predict, and control it. In Power and Influence, Richard Corry investigates the assumptions that are built into the reductive method of explanation—the method whereby we deal with complexity by studying the components of a complex system in relative isolation and use the information so gained to explain or predict the behaviour of the complex whole. He investigates the metaphysical presuppositions built into the reductive (...)
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  37. No God, No Powers.James Orr - 2019 - International Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4):411-426.
    One common feature of debates about the best metaphysical analysis of putatively lawful phenomena is the suspicion that nomic realists who locate the modal force of such phenomena in quasi-causal necessitation relations between universals are working with a model of law that cannot convincingly erase its theological pedigree. Nancy Cartwright distills this criticism into slogan form: no God, no laws. Some have argued that a more plausible alternative for nomic realists who reject theism is to ground laws of nature in (...)
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  38. A Theory of Constitutive Tropes.Anthony Parisi - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Iowa
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  39. Is it time for a Nietzschean genealogy of laws of nature?: Walter Ott, Lydia Patton : Laws of nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, x+264pp, $65 HB. [REVIEW]Jason Winning - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):269-271.
  40. God and Dispositional Essentialism: An Account of the Laws of Nature.Dani Adams - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (2):293-316.
    It is common to appeal to governing laws of nature in order to explain the existence of natural regularities. Classical theism, however, maintains the sovereignty thesis: everything distinct from God is created by him and is under his guidance and control. It follows from this that God must somehow be responsible for natural laws and regularities. Therefore, theists need an account of the relation between regularities, laws, and God. I examine competing accounts of laws of nature and conclude that dispositional (...)
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  41. Are laws of nature consistent with contingency?Nancy Cartwright & Pedro Merlussi - 2018 - In Walter Ott & Lydia Patton (eds.), Laws of Nature. Oxford, UK:
    Are the laws of nature consistent with contingency about what happens in the world? That depends on what the laws of nature actually are, but it also depends on what they are like. The latter is the concern of this chapter, which looks at three views that are widely endorsed: ‘Humean’ regularity accounts, laws as relations among universals, and disposition/powers accounts. Given an account of what laws are, what follows about how much contingency, and of what kinds, laws allow? In (...)
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  42. Emergentism and the Contingent Solubility of Salt.Lok-Chi Chan - 2018 - Theoria 84 (4):309-324.
    Alexander Bird (2001; 2002; 2007) offers a powerful argument showing that, regardless of whether necessitarianism or contingentism about laws is true, salt necessarily dissolves in water. The argument is that the same laws of nature that are necessary for the constitution of salt necessitate the solubility of salt. This paper shows that Bird’s argument faces a serious objection if the possibility of emergentism – in particular, C. D. Broad’s account – is taken into account. The idea is (roughly) that some (...)
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  43. Dispositionalism and the Metaphysics of Science.Travis Dumsday - 2018 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Dispositionalism is the view that causal powers are among the irreducible properties of nature. It has long been among the core competing positions in the metaphysics of laws, but its potential implications for other key debates within metaphysics and the philosophy of science have remained under-explored. Travis Dumsday fills this major gap in the literature by establishing new connections between dispositionalism and such topics as substance ontology, ontic structural realism, material composition, emergentism, natural-kind essentialism, perdurantism, time travel, and spacetime substantivalism. (...)
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  44. 5. Dispositional Laws of Nature.Florian Fischer - 2018 - In Natural Laws as Dispositions. De Gruyter. pp. 123-144.
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  45. 1. Laws of Nature.Florian Fischer - 2018 - In Natural Laws as Dispositions. De Gruyter. pp. 3-30.
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  46. Natural Laws as Dispositions.Florian Fischer - 2018 - De Gruyter.
    Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the vast topic of laws of nature. Thus, it first outlines the alleged characteristics of the laws of nature, namely truth, objectivity, contingency, necessity, universality, grounding counterfactuals and their role in science. Among these aspects, the peculiar modal status of laws of nature will be identified as the ‘holy grail’ of the debate. The second part of this chapter is concerned with the three main families of theories of laws of nature – neo-humean, (...)
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  47. Metaphysics of laws and ontology of time.Cord Friebe - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (1):77-89.
    At first glance, every metaphysics of laws can be combined with every ontology of time. In contrast, the paper intends to show that Humeanism requires eternalism and that Power metaphysics must presuppose an existentially dynamical view of temporal existence, i.e. growing block or presentism. The presented arguments turn out to be completely independent of whether the laws of nature are deterministic or probabilistic: the world is non-productive and static or productively dynamical, the future be ‘open’ or not.
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  48. The space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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  49. Do Categorical Properties Confer Dispositions on Their Bearers?Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):61-82.
    Categorical Monism (that is, the view that all fundamental natural properties are purely categorical) has recently been challenged by a number of philosophers. In this paper, I examine a challenge which can be based on Gabriele Contessa’s [10] defence of the view that only powers can confer dispositions. In his paper Contessa argues against what he calls the Nomic Theory of Disposition Conferral (NTDC). According to NTDC, in each world in which they exist, (categorical) properties confer specific dispositions on their (...)
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  50. Hamilton’s Principle and Dispositional Essentialism: Friends or Foes?Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (1):59-71.
    Most recently Smart and Thébault revived an almost forgotten debate between Katzav and Ellis on the compatibility of Hamilton’s Principle with Dispositional Essentialism. Katzav’s arguments inter alia aim to show that HP presupposes a kind of metaphysical contingency which is at odds with the basic tenets of DE, and offers explanations of a different type and direction from those given by DE. In this paper I argue that though dispositional essentialists might adequately respond to these arguments, the question about the (...)
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