The dispositional essentialist view of properties and laws

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 causal properties, combining a Shoemaker-type identity thesis with a Dretske, Tooley, and Armstrong-type view that laws are relations between properties, and a realism about dispositions. The property identity thesis is defended against standard epistemological and metaphysical objections. The metaphysics of causal properties is then clarified by a consideration of the laws relating them, vacuous laws, and ceteris paribus law statements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-413
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ceteris paribus laws
  • Dispositions
  • Essentialism
  • Laws
  • Properties
  • Vacuous laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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