Dispositions and the principle of least action revisited

Benjamin T H Smart, Karim P Y Thébault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Some time ago, Joel Katzav (2004. Dispositions and the principle of least action. Analysis 64: 206-14; 2005. Ellis on the limitations of dispositionalism. Analysis 65: 92-4) and Brian Ellis (2005. Katzav on the limitations of dispositionalism. Analysis 65: 90-2) 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 (we call these the 'contingent action-quantities' and 'explanatory' objections), and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems - but not for the reasons espoused by Ellis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-395
Number of pages10
JournalAnalysis
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • Bird
  • Disposition
  • Ellis
  • Explanation
  • Katzav
  • Laws of Nature
  • Principle of least action

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