Dispositions and Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Daian Bica (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
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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211 found
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  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. How to Ground Powers.David Builes - forthcoming - Analysis.
    According to the grounding theory of powers, fundamental physical properties should be thought of as qualities that ground dispositions. Although this view has recently been defended by many different philosophers, there is no consensus for how the view should be developed within a broader metaphysics of properties. Recently, Tugby has argued that the view should be developed in the context of a Platonic theory of properties, where properties are abstract universals. I will argue that the view should not be developed (...)
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  4. On Some Objections to the Powers-BSA.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper responds to Friend’s (2023) critique of the Powers-BSA, a view according to which laws of nature are efficient descriptions of how modally laden properties (powers) are possibly distributed in spacetime. In the course of this response, the paper discusses the nature of scientific and metaphysical explanation, the aim of science and the structure of modal space.
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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws: a deflationary account.Alan Sidelle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Two related claims have lately garnered currency: dispositional essentialism—the view that some or all properties, or some or all fundamental properties, are essentially dispositional; and the claim that laws of nature (or again, many or the fundamental ones) are metaphysically necessary. I have argued elsewhere (On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002) that the laws of nature do not have a mind-independent metaphysical necessity, but recent developments on dispositions have given these ideas a new (...)
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  8. Scientific Realism and Laws of Nature: A Metaphysics of Causal Powers.Michel Ghins - 2024 - Springer Verlag.
    This book addresses central issues in the philosophy and metaphysics of science, namely the nature of scientific theories, their partial truth, and the necessity of scientific laws within a moderate realist and empiricist perspective. Accordingly, good arguments in favour of the existence of unobservable entities postulated by our best theories, such as electrons, must be inductively grounded on perceptual experience and not their explanatory power as most defenders of scientific realism claim. Similarly, belief in the reality of dispositions such as (...)
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  9. Laws of Nature.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London: Routledge. pp. 337-346.
    Properties have an important role in specifying different views on laws of nature: virtually any position on laws will make some reference to properties, and some of the leading views even reduce laws to properties. This chapter will first outline what laws of nature are typically taken to be and then specify their connection to properties in more detail. We then move on to consider three different accounts of properties: natural, essential, and dispositional properties, and we shall see that different (...)
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  10. Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature by Andrew YOUNAN (review).Dominic V. Cassella - 2023 - Review of Metaphysics 77 (1):166-168.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature by Andrew YOUNANDominic V. CassellaYOUNAN, Andrew. Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2023. xii + 228 pp. Cloth, $75.00Andrew Younan’s work situates itself between two opposing philosophical accounts of the laws of nature. In one corner, there are the Humeans (or Nominalists); in the (...)
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  11. Dispositions and Powers.Toby Friend & Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Tuomas E. Tahko.
    As we understand them, dispositions are relatively uncontroversial 'predicatory' properties had by objects disposed in certain ways. By contrast, powers are hypothetical 'ontic' properties posited in order to explain dispositional behaviour. Chapter 1 outlines this distinction in more detail. Chapter 2 offers a summary of the issues surrounding analysis of dispositions and various strategies in contemporary literature to address them, including one of our own. Chapter 3 describes some of the important questions facing the metaphysics of powers including why they're (...)
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  12. Can the Ontology of Bohmian Mechanics Consists Only in Particles? The PBR Theorem Says No.Shan Gao - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (6):1-21.
    The meaning of the wave function is an important unresolved issue in Bohmian mechanics. On the one hand, according to the nomological view, the wave function of the universe or the universal wave function is nomological, like a law of nature. On the other hand, the PBR theorem proves that the wave function in quantum mechanics or the effective wave function in Bohmian mechanics is ontic, representing the ontic state of a physical system in the universe. It is usually thought (...)
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  13. Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This Element provides an opinionated introduction to the metaphysics of laws of nature. The first section distinguishes between scientific and philosophical questions about laws and describes some criteria for a philosophical account of laws. Subsequent sections explore the leading philosophical theories in detail, reviewing the most influential arguments in the literature. The final few sections assess the state of the field and suggest avenues for future research.
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  14. Are all laws of nature created equal? Meta-laws versus more necessary laws.Salim Hirèche, Niels Linnemann & Robert Michels - 2023 - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Two approaches to elevating certain laws of nature over others have come to prominence recently. On the one hand, according to the meta-laws approach, there are meta-laws, laws which relate to laws as those laws relate to particular facts. On the other hand, according to the modal, or non-absolutist, approach, some laws are necessary in a stricter sense than others. Both approaches play an important role in current research, questioning the ‘orthodoxy’ represented by the leading philosophical theories of natural laws—Humeanism, (...)
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  15. Empty-Base Explanation.Yannic Kappes - 2023 - De Gruyter.
    This book develops and applies a novel kind of explanation: Empty-Base Explanation. While ordinary explanations have a tripartite structure involving an explanandum, a base of reasons why the explanandum obtains, and a link that connects the reasons to the explanandum, this book argues that there are explanations whose corresponding set of reasons is empty. This novel idea is located in the theoretical background of several fundamental philosophical issues. For example, it provides a convincing kind of ultimate or final explanation that (...)
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  16. Laws beyond spacetime.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2023 - Synthese 202 (3):1-24.
    Quantum gravity’s suggestion that spacetime may be emergent and so only exist contingently would force a radical reconception of extant analyses of laws of nature. Humeanism presupposes a spatiotemporal mosaic of particular matters of fact on which laws supervene; primitivism and dispositionalism conceive of the action of primitive laws or of dispositions as a process of ‘nomic production’ unfolding over time. We show how the Humean supervenience basis of non-modal facts and primitivist or dispositionalist accounts of nomic production can be (...)
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  17. Categorical Monism, Laws, and the Inference Problem.Vassilis Livanios - 2023 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (4):599-619.
    A well-known difficulty that affects all accounts of laws of nature according to which the latter are higher-order facts involving relations between universals (the so-called DTA accounts, from Dretske in Philosophy of Science 44:248–268, 1977; Tooley in Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7:667–698, 1977 and Armstrong (What is a Law of Nature?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983)) is the Inference Problem: how can laws construed in that way determine the first-order regularities that we find in the actual world? Bird (Analysis 65:147–55, (...)
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  18. Powers and Nomic Relations: Powerful Categoricalism and the Dualist Model.Vassilis Livanios - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (3):1401-1423.
    The bulk of the literature concerning the governing role of non-Humean laws has been concentrated on the alleged incapability of higher order nomic facts to determine the regularities in the behaviour of actual objects, the so-called Inference Problem. Most recently Ioannidis, Livanios and Psillos (2021) argue that an adequate solution to the Inference Problem requires an answer to the question of how nomic relations manage to ‘tell’ properties what to do. Ioannidis et al. dub the difficulty that all extant accounts (...)
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  19. Against relationalism about modality.Carlos Romero - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2245-2274.
    On a highly influential way to think of modality, that I call ‘relationalism’, the modality of a state is explained by its being composed of properties, and these properties being related by a higher-order and primitively modal relation. Examples of relationalism are the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong account of natural necessity, many dispositional essentialist views, and Wang’s incompatibility primitivism. I argue that relationalism faces four difficulties: that the selection between modal relations is arbitrary, that the modal relation cannot belong to any logical order, (...)
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  20. Powers as Mereological Lawmakers.Michael Traynor - 2023 - In Christopher J. Austin, Anna Marmodoro & Andrea Roselli (eds.), Powers, Parts and Wholes: Essays on the Mereology of Powers. Routledge. pp. 83-95.
    This chapter explores a potential analogy between mereological principles and laws of nature. Against a backdrop of what Marmodoro has termed ‘power structuralism’ (and a rejection of a Humean worldview), the connection between parthood and modality may be richer than has hitherto been considered. Mereological principles delineate possibilities for parts and wholes, and putting powers at the centre of a discussion about parthood can furnish a novel conception of mereological laws, much as dispositionalism has done so for natural laws; namely, (...)
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  21. 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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  22. How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Dispositions and the Least Action Principle.Diego Maltrana & Federico Benitez - 2022 - Disputatio 14 (65):91-104.
    This work deals with obstacles hindering a metaphysics of laws of nature in terms of dispositions, i.e., of fundamental properties that are causal powers. A recent analysis of the principle of least action has put into question the viability of dispositionalism in the case of classical mechanics, generally seen as the physical theory most easily amenable to a dispositional ontology. Here, a proper consideration of the framework role played by the least action principle within the classical image of the world (...)
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  26. 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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  27. New Foundations of Dispositionalism - introduction.Andrea Raimondi & Lorenzo Azzano - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-26.
    As Price (2009) famously mused, if a philosopher were to be magically transported, perhaps through means of time travel, from the 1950s to the modern day, they would indeed be shocked by the resurgence of metaphysics in the analytic tradition. Most of all, perhaps, they would be shocked by the popularity of power metaphysics. What a strange item to have in a philosopher’s curriculum, they might think: after all, didn’t David Hume claim that “[t]here are no ideas which can occur (...)
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  28. Kinds and Explanations.Petter Sandstad & Ludger Jansen - 2022 - In Mirosław Szatkowski (ed.), E. J. Lowe and Ontology. New York, NY: Routledge. 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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  29. Nomological Dispositionalism and Its Problems: Redundancy, Experimentalism, and Nomic Modality.Cristian Soto - 2022 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 20:251-270.
    Nomological dispositionalism has occupied a center stage in contemporary metaphysics about laws, holding the view that laws of nature derive from an ontology of intrinsically modal dispositional properties. This view faces, though, various challenges, some of which are worth revisiting. Among them, dispositionalism about properties condemns laws to ontological redundancy; its reconstruction of properties does not seem to fit with experimentalism; it introduces a view of metaphysical modality that ambiguously moves between (_de dicto_) logical modality and (_de re_) physical modality; (...)
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  30. 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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  31. Humean nomic essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - 2021 - Noûs 57 (1):81-99.
    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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  32. 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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  33. Dispositional Essentialism in the Context of the Necessity of the Laws of Nature.Ebubekir Muhammed Deniz - 2021 - Kutadgubilig Felsefe-Bilim Araştırmaları Dergisi 44 (2):43-63.
    Three different views have been put forward on the contemporary debate of laws of nature. The first of these is the regularity theory, which argues that the laws of nature do not imply any necessity and they are merely regularities that we observe. The second one, nomic necessity theory, by criticizing regularity theory defends that there is a nomic necessity in the laws of nature, and they have an ontological basis beyond regularity, and even so, the laws of nature are (...)
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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - 2021 - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. The far-reaching impact of dispositionalism?: Travis Dumsday: Dispositionalism and the metaphysics of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, 232pp, £22.99 PB. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2021 - Metascience 30 (3):361-364.
  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. The dynamical essence of powers.Andrea Roselli & Christopher Austin - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5):14951-14973.
    Powers are properties defined by what they do. The focus of the large majority of the powers literature has been mainly put on explicating the (multifaceted) results of the production of a power in certain (multifaceted) initial conditions: but all this causal complexity is bound to be—and, in fact, it has proved to be—quite difficult to handle. In this paper we take a different approach by focusing on the very activity of producing those multifaceted manifestations themselves. In this paper, we (...)
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  44. Quantum Entanglement, Metaphysics of Relations, Dispositionalism and Е. J. Lowe's Ontology.Н. В Головко - 2021 - Siberian Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):8-35.
    The paper aims to make а fair supplement to the concept of "metaphysics of relations" (bу М. Esfeld) with а coгrect coгresponding interpretation of the dispositional natшe of characteristics within Е. J. Lowe's ontology. А reasoning from science to philosophy leads М. Esfeld to the conclusion that "quantum entanglement understood in terms of non-separability of states speaks for the metaphysics of relations that denies the presence of intrinsic characteristics of the related systems". The same naturalistic argument provides rationale for the (...)
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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):e12662.
    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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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.
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