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  1. The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws.Anjan Chakravartty - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
    One view of the nature of properties has been crystallized in recent debate by an identity thesis proposed by Shoemaker. The general idea is that there is for behaviour. Well-known criticisms of this approach, however, remain unanswered, and the details of its connections to laws nothing more to being a particular causal property than conferring certain dispositions of nature and the precise ontology of causal properties stand in need of development. This paper examines and defends a dispositional essentialist account of (...)
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  • Against Miracles as Law-Violations: A Neo-Aristotelian Approach.Archer Joel - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (4):83--98.
    Miracles are commonly understood in the way David Hume defined them: as violations of the laws of nature. I argue, however, that the conjunction of Hume’s definition with a neo-Humean view of the laws of nature yields objectionable consequences. In particular, the two jointly imply that some miracles are logically impossible. A better way of thinking about miracles, I suggest, is on a neo-Aristotelian metaphysics. On that view, the laws of nature contain built-in ceteris paribus clauses that allow for the (...)
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  • Quidditism Without Quiddities.Dustin Locke - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):345-363.
    Structuralism and quidditism are competing views of the metaphysics of property individuation: structuralists claim that properties are individuated by their nomological roles; quidditists claim that they are individuated by something else. This paper (1) refutes what many see as the best reason to accept structuralism over quidditism and (2) offers a methodological argument in favor of a quidditism. The standard charge against quidditism is that it commits us to something ontologically otiose: intrinsic aspects of properties, so-called ‘quiddities’. Here I grant (...)
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  • A Note on Science and Essentialism.Alice Drewery - 2004 - Theoria 19 (3):311-320.
    This paper discusses recent attempts to use essentialist arguments based on the work of Kripke and Putnam to ground causal necessity in the world. I argue in particular that arecent argument by Alexander Bird relies on controversial intuitions about the natures of substances which no Humean would accept. While a case can be made that essentialism reflects some assumptions within scientific practice, the same can be said of Humeanism; ultimately neither Bird’s arguments, nor any empirical facts, can decide the question (...)
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  • Concepts of Law of Nature.Brendan Shea - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Illinois
    Over the past 50 years, there has been a great deal of philosophical interest in laws of nature, perhaps because of the essential role that laws play in the formulation of, and proposed solutions to, a number of perennial philosophical problems. For example, many have thought that a satisfactory account of laws could be used to resolve thorny issues concerning explanation, causation, free-will, probability, and counterfactual truth. Moreover, interest in laws of nature is not constrained to metaphysics or philosophy of (...)
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  • Causal Essentialism and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Cameron Gibbs - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2331-2351.
    Causal essentialists hold that a property essentially bears its causal and nomic relations. Further, as many causal essentialists have noted, the main motivations for causal essentialism also motivate holding that properties are individuated in terms of their causal and nomic relations. This amounts to a kind of identity of indiscernibles thesis; properties that are indiscernible with respect to their causal and nomic relations are identical. This can be compared with the more well-known identity of indiscernibles thesis, according to which particulars (...)
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  • On the Classification of Diseases.Benjamin Smart - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (4):251-269.
    Identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions for individuating and classifying diseases is a matter of great importance in the fields of law, ethics, epidemiology, and of course, medicine. In this paper, I first propose a means of achieving this goal, ensuring that no two distinct disease-types could correctly be ascribed to the same disease-token. I then posit a metaphysical ontology of diseases—that is, I give an account of what a disease is. This is essential to providing the most effective means (...)
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  • The Question of Realism for Powers.Lorenzo Azzano - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):329-354.
    In recent years, a new dispute has risen to prominence: the dispute between realists and anti-realists about causal powers. Albeit sometimes overlooked, the meta-ontological features of this “question of realism for powers” are quite peculiar. For friends and foes of causal powers have characterized their contrasting views in a variety of different ways; as existence claims, as semantic or truth-making claims, as fundamentality claims, as claims about the nature of certain properties. Not only does this multiplicity of interpretations make it (...)
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  • Against A Posteriori Functionalism.Marc A. Moffett - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):83-106.
    There are two constraints on any functionalist solution to the Mind-Body Problem construed as an answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the mental properties and relations (hereafter, simply the mental properties) and physical properties and relations?” The first constraint is that it must actually address the Mind-Body Problem and not simply redefine the debate in terms of other, more tractable, properties (e.g., the species-specific property of having human-pain). Such moves can be seen to be spurious by the (...)
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  • A Powers Theory of Modality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reject Possible Worlds.Jonathan D. Jacobs - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):227-248.
    Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...)
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  • Property Identity.Paul Audi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):829-840.
    The question of how properties are individuated is extremely important. Consider the following proposals. To be in pain is to be in a certain neurological state. To be red is to appear red to normal observers in standard conditions. To be obligatory is to maximize the good. Each makes a claim of property identity. Each is a substantive metaphysical thesis of wide interest. None can be studied with due scrutiny in the absence of a general account of property identity. Here, (...)
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  • Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia.James Franklin - 2003 - Sydney, Australia: Macleay Press.
    A polemical account of Australian philosophy up to 2003, emphasising its unique aspects (such as commitment to realism) and the connections between philosophers' views and their lives. Topics include early idealism, the dominance of John Anderson in Sydney, the Orr case, Catholic scholasticism, Melbourne Wittgensteinianism, philosophy of science, the Sydney disturbances of the 1970s, Francofeminism, environmental philosophy, the philosophy of law and Mabo, ethics and Peter Singer. Realist theories especially praised are David Armstrong's on universals, David Stove's on logical probability (...)
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  • Tropes, Unmanifested Dispositions and Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    According to a well-known argument, originally due to David Armstrong, powers theory is objectionable, as it leads to a ‘Meinongian’ ontology on which some entities are real but do not actually exist. I argue here that the right conclusion to draw from this argument has thus far not been identified and that doing so has significant implications for powers theory. Specifically, I argue that the key consequence of the argument is that it provides substantial grounds for trope powers theorists, but (...)
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  • Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Dispositions.Michael Fara - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The glass vase on my desk is fragile. It should be handled with care because it it is likely to shatter or crack if it is knocked, dropped, or otherwise treated roughly. The vase has certain dispositions, for example the disposition to shatter when dropped. But what is this disposition? It seems on the one hand to be a perfectly real property, a genuine respect of similarity common to glass vases, china cups, ancient manuscripts, and anything else fragile. Yet on (...)
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  • Dispositions.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Natural Kinds.Emma Tobin & Alexander Bird - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Agent-Causation Revisited: Origination and Contemporary Theories of Free Will.Thad Botham - 2008 - Berlin, Germany: Verlag D Müller.
    Sometimes you make a choice. Whether or not you made it was up to you. The choice was free. But how can this be? A scientific view of the world may leave no room for free choice. Free will literature continually explodes. Yet experts still focus on control or on a power to do otherwise. Sadly, they neglect another intuitive feature of free will: being an underived source or ultimate originator. When acting freely, one is a self-determined, self-directed, sole author (...)
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  • In Defence of Causal Bases.Jan Hauska - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):23 – 43.
    C. B. Martin's finkish cases raise one of the most serious objections to conditional analyses of dispositions. David Lewis's reformed analysis is widely considered the most promising response to the objection. Despite its sophistication, however, the reformed analysis still provokes questions concerning its ability to handle finkish cases. They focus on the applicability of the analysis to 'baseless' dispositions. After sketching Martin's objection and the reformed analysis, I argue that all dispositions have causal bases which the analysis can unproblematically invoke.
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  • Potency and Modality.Alexander Bird - 2006 - Synthese 149 (3):491-508.
    Let us call a property that is essentially dispositional a potency.1 David Armstrong thinks that potencies do not exist. All sparse properties are essentially categorical, where sparse properties are the explanatory properties of the type science seeks to discover. An alternative view, but not the only one, is that all sparse properties are potencies or supervene upon them. In this paper I shall consider the differences between these views, in particular the objections Armstrong raises against potencies.
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  • Quiddistic Knowledge.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):1-32.
    Is the relation between properties and the causal powers they confer necessary, or contingent? Necessary, says Sydney Shoemaker, on pain of skepticism about the properties. Contingent, says David Lewis, swallowing the skeptical conclusion. I shall argue that Lewis is right about the metaphysics, but that Shoemaker and Lewis are wrong about the epistemology. Properties have intrinsic natures (quiddities), which we can know.
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  • The Metaphysical Requirement for Models of Prediction and Explanationist Approaches to the Problem of Induction.Jaeho Lee - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (3):225-242.
    David Armstrong once argued that to solve the problem of induction with inference to the best explanation we need an anti-Humean conception of law. Some Humeans have argued that this argument begs the question against Humeanism. In this paper, I propose a new argument for the same conclusion which is not vulnerable to this criticism. In particular, I argue that explanationist approaches to the problem of induction that are combined with Humeanism is internally incoherent.
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  • Concepts and Causes in the Philosophy of Disease.Benjamin T. H. Smart - 2016 - London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
    Disease is everywhere. Everyone experiences disease, everyone knows somebody who is, or has been diseased, and disease-related stories hit the headlines on a regular basis. Many important issues in the philosophy of disease, however, have received remarkably little attention from philosophical thinkers. -/- This book examines a number of important debates in the philosophy of medicine, including 'what is disease?', and the roles and viability of concepts of causation, in clinical medicine and epidemiology. Where much of the existing literature targets (...)
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  • Causal Necessitarianism and the Monotonicity Objection.Salim Hirèche - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2597-2627.
    Do causes necessitate their effects? Causal necessitarianism is the view that they do. One major objection—the “monotonicity objection”—runs roughly as follows. For many particular causal relations, we can easily find a possible “blocker”—an additional causal factor that, had it also been there, would have prevented the cause from producing its effect. However—the objection goes on—, if the cause really necessitated its effect in the first place, it would have produced it anyway—despite the blocker. Thus, CN must be false. Though different (...)
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  • 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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  • The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  • Stephen Mumford. Dispositions. . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. 261 Pp. [REVIEW]John Hawthorne & David Manley - 2005 - Noûs 39 (1):179–195.
    In Mumford’s Dispositions, the reader will find an extended treatment of the recent debate about dispositions from Ryle and Geach to the present. Along the way, Mumford presents his own views on several key points, though we found the book much more thorough in its assessment of opposing views than in the development of a positive account. As we’ll try to make clear, some of the ideas endorsed in Dispositions are certainly worth pursuing; others are not. Following Mackie, Shoemaker, and (...)
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  • The Dispositionalist Conception of Laws.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):353-70.
    This paper sketches a dispositionalist conception of laws and shows how the dispositionalist should respond to certain objections. The view that properties are essentially dispositional is able to provide an account of laws that avoids the problems that face the two views of laws (the regularity and the contingent nomic necessitation views) that regard properties as categorical and laws as contingent. I discuss and reject the objections that (i) this view makes laws necessary whereas they are contingent; (ii) this view (...)
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  • Physical Intentionality, Extrinsicness, and the Direction of Causation.William A. Bauer - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (4):397-417.
    The Physical Intentionality Thesis claims that dispositions share the marks of psychological intentionality; therefore, intentionality is not exclusively a mental phenomenon. Beyond the standard five marks, Alexander Bird introduces two additional marks of intentionality that he argues dispositions do not satisfy: first, thoughts are extrinsic; second, the direction of causation is that objects cause thoughts, not vice versa. In response, this paper identifies two relevant conceptions of extrinsicness, arguing that dispositions show deep parallels to thoughts on both conceptions. Then, it (...)
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  • ‘Real Grounds’ in Matter and Things in Themselves.Rae Langton - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):435-448.
    Matter’s real essence is a ground for certain features of phenomena. Things in themselves are likewise a ground for certain features of phenomena. How do these claims relate? The former is a causal essentialism about physics, Stang argues; and the features so grounded are phenomenally nomically necessary. The latter involves a distinctive ontology of things in themselves, I argue; but the features so grounded are not noumenally nomically necessary. Stang’s version of Kant’s modal metaphysics is admirable, but does not go (...)
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  • Dispositional Monism and the Ontological Distinction Between Unmanifested and Manifested Powers.Vassilis Livanios - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):89-99.
    The vast majority of metaphysicians agree that powers (in contrast to categorical properties) can exist unmanifested. This paper focuses on the ontological distinction between unmanifested and manifested powers underpinning that fact and has two main aims. First, to determine the proper relata of the distinction and second, to show that an unrestricted version of dispositional monism faces serious difficulties to accommodate it. As far as the first aim is concerned, it is argued that the distinction in question, in order to (...)
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  • Dispositions, Primitive Activities, and Essentially Active Objects.Travis Dumsday - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (1):43-64.
    The question of whether there could be a physical object that is necessarily constantly active has a long history, and it has recently arisen again in the literature on dispositions. I examine and critique two proposals for affirming the possibility of such an object. I then advocate a third option, one which is workable if paired with natural-kind essentialism. Finally I briefly outline three possible implications of this view for wider debates concerning the ontology of dispositions and natural kinds.
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  • Ceteris Paribus Laws, Component Forces, and the Nature of Special-Science Properties.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Noûs 42 (3):349-380.
    Laws of nature seem to take two forms. Fundamental physics discovers laws that hold without exception, ‘strict laws’, as they are sometimes called; even if some laws of fundamental physics are irreducibly probabilistic, the probabilistic relation is thought not to waver. In the nonfundamental, or special, sciences, matters differ. Laws of such sciences as psychology and economics hold only ceteris paribus – that is, when other things are equal. Sometimes events accord with these ceteris paribus laws (c.p. laws, hereafter), but (...)
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  • Humean Supervenience, Vectorial Fields, and the Spinning Sphere.Ralf Busse - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):449-489.
  • Tropes – The Basic Constituents of Powerful Particulars.Markku Keinänen - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):419-450.
    This article presents a trope bundle theory of simple substances, the Strong Nuclear Theory[SNT] building on the schematic basis offered by Simons's (1994) Nuclear Theory[NT]. The SNT adopts Ellis's (2001) dispositional essentialist conception of simple substances as powerful particulars: all of their monadic properties are dispositional. Moreover, simple substances necessarily belong to some natural kind with a real essence formed by monadic properties. The SNT develops further the construction of substances the NT proposes to obtain an adequate trope bundle theory (...)
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  • Properties: Qualities, Powers, or Both?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):55-80.
    Powers are popularly assumed to be distinct from, and dependent upon, inert qualities, mainly because it is believed that qualities have their nature independently of other properties while powers have their nature in virtue of a relation to distinct manifestation property. George Molnar and Alexander Bird, on the other hand, characterize powers as intrinsic and relational. The difficulties of reconciling the characteristics of being intrinsic and at the same time essentially related are illustrated in this paper and it is argued (...)
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  • The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies.Luke Gelinas - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):533-559.
    I examine different strategies involved in stating anti-theistic arguments from natural evil, and consider some theistic replies. There are, traditionally, two main types of arguments from natural evil: those that purport to deduce a contradiction between the existence of natural evil and the existence of God, and those that claim that the existence of certain types or quantities of natural evil significantly lowers the probability that theism is true. After considering peripheral replies, I state four prominent theistic rebutting strategies: skeptical (...)
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  • Making Sense of Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8347-8363.
    According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort (...)
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  • Dispositional Essentialism; Alive and Well.E. Anderson - 1997 - Philosophical Papers 26 (2):195-201.
    Within the community of philosophers who advocate a broadly realist picture of laws of nature, there remains a vexed question about truthmakers: What is it that makes statements of natural law true? One view has it that the laws of a world are true in virtue of the fact that there exist ultimate dispositions or powers at that world. Following Brian Ellis and Caroline Lierse, I call this view 'Dispositional Essentialism,' and I defend it against a recent attack from Stephen (...)
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  • What Are Natural Kinds?1.Katherine Hawley & Alexander Bird - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):205-221.
    We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
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  • Universals, the Essential Problem and Categorical Properties.Brian Ellis - 2005 - Ratio 18 (4):462–472.
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  • Laws and Essences.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Ratio 18 (4):437–461.
    Those who favour an ontology based on dispositions are thereby able to provide a dispositional essentialist account of the laws of nature. In part 1 of this paper I sketch the dispositional essentialist conception of properties and the concomitant account of laws. In part 2, I characterise various claims about the modal character of properties that fall under the heading ‘quidditism’ and which are consequences of the categoricalist view of properties, which is the alternative to the dispositional essentialist view. I (...)
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  • Structuralism and the New Way of Worlds: A Sellarsian Argument for Necessitarianism About Laws.Zanja Yudell - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):678-695.
    This article presents and argues for modal structuralism, which is loosely derived from a position described by Wilfrid Sellars. Modal structuralism holds that a fundamental property is identified by the role it plays in the structure of possibilities. It implies necessitarianism about laws, which holds that at least some laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. The argument for these positions derives from the following assumptions: the principle of the identity of indiscernible properties and a modest antiquidditism. These assumptions are weaker (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Desire and Dispositions.Lauren Ashwell - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (7):469-477.
    There seems to be some kind of close relationship between desires and behavioral dispositions. While a popular view about the nature of desire is that it essentially involves dispositions towards action, there do seem to be pressing objections to this view. However, recent work on dispositional properties potentially undermines some of the metaphysical assumptions that lie beneath these objections.
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  • Adolf Grünbaum on the Steady‐State Theory and Creatio Continua of Matter Out of Nothing.Mirsaeid Mousavi Karimi - 2011 - Zygon 46 (4):857-871.
    The ideas of creatio ex nihilo of the universe and creatio continua of new matter out of nothing entered the arena of natural science with the advent of the Big Bang and the steady‐state theories in the mid‐twentieth century. Adolf Grünbaum has tried to interpret the steady‐state theory in such a way, to show that the continuous formation of new matter out of nothing in this theory can be explained purely physically. In this paper, however, it will be shown that (...)
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  • The Modal Limits of Dispositionalism.Jennifer Wang - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):454-469.
    Dispositionality is a modal notion of a certain sort. When an object is said to have a disposition, we typically understand this to mean that under certain circumstances, the object would behave in a certain way. For instance, a fragile object is disposed to break when dropped onto a concrete surface. It need not actually break - its being fragile has implications that, so to speak, point beyond the actual world. According to dispositionalism, all modal features of the world may (...)
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  • The Nature of Properties: Causal Essentialism and Quidditism.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (3):168-176.
    Properties seem to play an important role in causal relations. But philosophers disagree over whether or not properties play their causal or nomic roles essentially. Causal essentialists say that they do, while quidditists deny it. This article surveys these two views, as well as views that try to find a middle ground.
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  • Megarian Variable Actualism.Toby Friend - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10521-10541.
    Megarian Actualism is the denial of unmanifesting powers. Aristotle called such a view ‘buffoonery’ and dispositionalists have provided compelling reasons for the contrary platitude that powers need not manifest. Even so, drawing on extant treatments of quantitative powers I’ll suggest that many of the powers which feature in quantitative lawlike equations are plausibly interpreted as Megarian. This is because the powers described by such equations are best understood as being directed towards all the values of exhaustive manifestation variables. I’ll discuss (...)
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  • Holism Resurfacing: How Far Should We Go With It?Márta Ujvári - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (2):133-155.
    The recent holistic trends in metaphysics are surveyed here and a tentative typology is offered. The non-linear mode of composition is suggested as the key feature of holism, apart from its familiar non-reductionism and emergentism. It is argued that those holistic views are promising that refrain from extreme relationalism based on the denial of there being self-subsistence particulars; also, those refraining from the postulation of an unarticulated all-embracing whole where both relations and terms are denied to be genuine ontological items. (...)
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  • 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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