Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon

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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
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Penultimate draft accepted for publication in Philosophical Studies.

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