Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon

Samuel Kimpton-Nye*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Citation (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

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 (CDE), 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 (still somewhat in the dispositional essentialist spirit). This account rejects CDE’s structuralist metaphysics of properties in favour of a view of properties as qualitative grounds of dispositions and it rejects CDE’s view of laws as relations in favour of a view of laws as features of an efficient description of possible property distributions. I then defend this view over CDE on the grounds that it can overcome an explanatory shortcoming of CDE and that it achieves a level of continuity with science that CDE fails to achieve. The upshot of this paper is a significant narrowing of the range of possibilities in which the absolutely best unified account of laws and properties resides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3421-3441
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume178
Issue number10
Early online date3 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the MetaScience project, grant agreement no. 771509. For feedback on earlier versions of this work I am grateful to: Barbara Vetter, Francesca Bellazzi, Jessica Leech, Matthew Tugby, Toby Friend, Tuomas Tahko, Vanessa Seifert and some anonymous referees.

Funding Information:
This work has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the MetaScience project, grant agreement no. 771509. For feedback on earlier versions of this work I am grateful to: Barbara Vetter, Francesca Bellazzi, Jessica Leech, Matthew Tugby, Toby Friend, Tuomas Tahko, Vanessa Seifert and some anonymous referees.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Science and Philosophy

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