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Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws

In Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.), Causal Powers. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-53 (2017)

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  1. Who Shouldn't Reduce Time's Arrow?Jake Khawaja - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-14.
    Reductive accounts of the direction of time are often paired with Humean accounts of laws, while non-reductive accounts of time are often paired with anti-Humean accounts of laws. The traditional pairing of views has recently come under question. This paper aims to clarify what sorts of anti-Humean views motivate anti-reductionism about the direction of time. It is argued that those who think (i) that the laws are metaphysically fundamental, and (ii) that the laws contain time-asymmetric contents, should treat the arrow (...)
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  • Experience and Time: A Metaphysical Approach.David Builes & Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    What is the temporal structure of conscious experience? While it is popular to think that our most basic conscious experiences are temporally extended, we will be arguing against this view, on the grounds that it makes our conscious experiences depend on the future in an implausible way. We then defend an alternative view of the temporal structure of experience from a variety of different objections. Along the way, we hope to illustrate the wider philosophical ramifications of the relationship between experience (...)
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  • How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):317-332.
    This paper defends an account of the laws of nature in terms of irreducibly modal properties (aka powers) from the threat posed by functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. It thus shows how powers theorists can avoid ad hoc explanations and resist an inflated ontology of powers and governing laws. The key is to understand laws not as flowing from the essences of powers, as per Bird (2007), but as features of a description of how powers are possibly distributed, as (...)
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  • The Fundamental Facts Can Be Logically Simple.Alexander Jackson - 2023 - Noûs 1:1-20.
    I like the view that the fundamental facts are logically simple, not complex. However, some universal generalizations and negations may appear fundamental, because they cannot be explained by logically simple facts about particulars. I explore a natural reply: those universal generalizations and negations are true because certain logically simple facts—call them —are the fundamental facts. I argue that this solution is only available given some metaphysical frameworks, some conceptions of metaphysical explanation and fundamentality. It requires a ‘fitting’ framework, according to (...)
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  • Chains of Being: Infinite Regress, Circularity, and Metaphysical Explanation.Ross P. Cameron - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    'Chains of Being' argues that there can be infinite chains of dependence or grounding. Cameron also defends the view that there can be circular relations of ontological dependence or grounding, and uses these claims to explore issues in logic and ontology.
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  • An Empirical Argument for Presentism.David Builes & Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    According to orthodoxy, our best physical theories strongly support Eternalism over Presentism. Our goal is to argue against this consensus, by arguing that a certain overlooked aspect of our best physical theories strongly supports Presentism over Eternalism.
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  • Naturalness by law.Verónica Gómez Sánchez - 2023 - Noûs 57 (1):100-127.
    The intuitive distinction between natural and unnatural properties (e.g., green vs. grue) informs our theorizing not only in fundamental physics, but also in non-fundamental domains. This paper develops a reductive account of this broad notion of naturalness that covers non-fundamental properties: for a property to be natural, I propose, is for it to figure in a law of nature. After motivating the account, I defend it from a potential circularity charge. I argue that a suitably broad notion of lawhood can (...)
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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 Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):270-291.
    I provide a new account of what it is for the laws of nature to govern the evolution of events. I locate the source of governance in the content of law propositions. As such, I do not appeal to primitive notions of ground, essence, or production to characterize governance. After introducing the account, I use it to outline previously unrecognized varieties of governance. I also specify that laws must govern to have two theoretical virtues: explanatory power as well as a (...)
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  • Lawful Persistence.David Builes & Trevor Teitel - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):5-30.
    The central aim of this paper is to use a particular view about how the laws of nature govern the evolution of our universe in order to develop and evaluate the two main competing options in the metaphysics of persistence, namely endurantism and perdurantism. We begin by motivating the view that our laws of nature dictate not only qualitative facts about the future, but also which objects will instantiate which qualitative properties. We then show that both traditional doctrines in the (...)
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  • A Believable A-Theory.Alexander Jackson - manuscript
    The A-theory of time is plagued by certain standard armchair problems: the presentism–eternalism dilemma, the problem of truth-makers, the alleged impossibility of cross-temporal relations, and the problem of temporary intrinsics. These challenges supposedly force A-theories to make incredible claims. I argue that these challenges are not deep antinomies in common sense, but rest on avoidable mistakes. Then I present a new A-theory that shows what’s possible once we move past the old problems. On this proposal, time’s passing is a metaphysically (...)
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  • Pre-Reflective Self-Consciousness: A Meta-Causal Approach.John A. Barnden - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):397-425.
    I present considerations surrounding pre-reflective self-consciousness, arising in work I am conducting on a new physicalist, process-based account of [phenomenal] consciousness. The account is called the meta-causal account because it identifies consciousness with a certain type of arrangement of meta-causation. Meta-causation is causation where a cause or effect is itself an instance of causation. The proposed type of arrangement involves a sort of time-spanning, internal reflexivity of the overall meta-causation. I argue that, as a result of the account, any conscious (...)
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  • Revaluing Laws of Nature in Secularized Science.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2022 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking the Concept of Law of Nature: Natural Order in the Light of Contemporary Science. Springer. pp. 347-377.
    Discovering laws of nature was a way to worship a law-giving God, during the Scientific Revolution. So why should we consider it worthwhile now, in our own more secularized science? For historical perspective, I examine two competing early modern theological traditions that related laws of nature to different divine attributes, and their secular legacy in views ranging from Kant and Nietzsche to Humean and ‘governing’ accounts in recent analytic metaphysics. Tracing these branching offshoots of ethically charged God-concepts sheds light on (...)
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  • Revisiting McKay and Johnson's counterexample to ( β).Pedro Merlussi - 2022 - Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):189-203.
    In debates concerning the consequence argument, it has long been claimed that [McKay, T. J., and D. Johnson. 1996. “A Reconsideration of an Argument Against Compatibilism.” Philosophical Topics 24 (2): 113–122] demonstrated the invalidity of rule (β). Here, I argue that their result is not as robust as we might like to think. First, I argue that McKay and Johnson's counterexample is successful if one adopts a certain interpretation of ‘no choice about’ and if one is willing to deny the (...)
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  • Governing Without A Fundamental Direction of Time: Minimal Primitivism about Laws of Nature.Eddy Keming Chen & Sheldon Goldstein - 2022 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking Laws of Nature. Springer. pp. 21-64.
    The Great Divide in metaphysical debates about laws of nature is between Humeans, who think that laws merely describe the distribution of matter, and non-Humeans, who think that laws govern it. The metaphysics can place demands on the proper formulations of physical theories. It is sometimes assumed that the governing view requires a fundamental / intrinsic direction of time: to govern, laws must be dynamical, producing later states of the world from earlier ones, in accord with the fundamental direction of (...)
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  • Humean nomic essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - 2021 - Noûs 57 (1):81-99.
    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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  • Why Defend Humean Supervenience?Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (7):387-406.
    Humean Supervenience is a metaphysical model of the world according to which all truths hold in virtue of nothing but the total spatiotemporal distribution of perfectly natural, intrinsic properties. David Lewis and others have worked out many aspects of HS in great detail. A larger motivational question, however, remains unanswered: As Lewis admits, there is strong evidence from fundamental physics that HS is false. What then is the purpose of defending HS? In this paper, we argue that the philosophical merit (...)
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  • No laws and (thin) powers in, no (governing) laws out.Stavros Ioannidis, Vassilis Livanios & Stathis Psillos - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    Non-Humean accounts of the metaphysics of nature posit either laws or powers in order to account for natural necessity and world-order. We argue that such monistic views face fundamental problems. On the one hand, neo-Aristotelians cannot give unproblematic power-based accounts of the functional laws among quantities offered by physical theories, as well as of the place of conservation laws and symmetries in a lawless ontology; in order to capture these characteristics, commitment to governing laws is indispensable. On the other hand, (...)
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  • Humeanism about laws of nature.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8):1-10.
    Humeanism about laws of nature is, roughly, the view that the laws of nature are just patterns, or ways of describing patterns, in the mosaic of events. In this paper I survey some of the (many!) objections that have been raised to Humeanism, considering how the Humean might respond. And I consider how we might make a positive case for Humeanism. The common thread running through all this is that the viability of the Humean view relies on the Humean having (...)
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  • Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):e12662.
    Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...)
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  • Individuation and explanation: a problem for dispositionalism.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3863-3883.
    According to dispositionalism, fundamental properties are dispositions—powers that don’t reduce to other properties, laws, or anything else. As dispositions manifest, natural regularities result, so this view appears to explain the uniformity of nature. However, in this paper I’ll argue that there are types of regularities that can’t be explained by dispositionalism. The basic idea is this. All accounts of fundamental dispositions endow properties with a certain sort of structure. This allows explanations of only those regularities that align with such structures. (...)
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  • Platonic Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):365-381.
    David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent, laws are relations between universals, and laws govern. Taken together, they form an attractive position, for they promise to explain regularities in nature—one of the most important desiderata for a theory of laws and properties—while remaining compatible with naturalism. However, I argue that the three theses are incompatible. The basic idea is that each thesis makes an explanatory claim, but the three claims can be shown to run in a problematic (...)
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  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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  • Naturalness constraints on best systems accounts of laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):163-172.
    According to best systems accounts, laws of nature are generalizations in the best systematization of particular matters of fact. Metrics such as simplicity and strength determine which systematization is best, but these are notoriously language relative. For this reason, David Lewis proposed a constraint on languages of inquiry: all predicates must be natural. This constraint is sometimes interpreted as requiring us to know which natural properties are instantiated in our world prior to scientific theorizing. I argue that this interpretation is (...)
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  • Eternal Worlds and the Best System Account of Laws.Ryan A. Olsen & Christopher Meacham - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. Singapore: World Scientific.
    In this paper we apply the popular Best System Account of laws to typical eternal worlds – both classical eternal worlds and eternal worlds of the kind posited by popular contemporary cosmological theories. We show that, according to the Best System Account, such worlds will have no laws that meaningfully constrain boundary conditions. It’s generally thought that lawful constraints on boundary conditions are required to avoid skeptical arguments. Thus the lack of such laws given the Best System Account may seem (...)
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  • Scientific Practice and the Epistemology of Governing Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):174-188.
    This article is concerned with the relationship between scientific practice and the metaphysics of laws of nature and natural properties. I begin by examining an argument by Michael Townsen Hicks and Jonathan Schaffer that an important feature of scientific practice—namely, that scientists sometimes invoke non-fundamental properties in fundamental laws—is incompatible with metaphysical theories according to which laws govern. I respond to their argument by developing an epistemology for governing laws that is grounded in scientific practice. This epistemology is of general (...)
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  • Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):983-1007.
    Humean accounts of laws of nature fail to distinguish between dynamic laws and static initial conditions. But this distinction plays a central role in scientific theorizing and explanation. I motivate the claim that this distinction should matter for the Humean, and show that current views lack the resources to explain it. I then develop a regularity theory that captures this distinction. My view takes empirical accessibility to be one of the primary features of laws, and I identify features laws must (...)
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  • Humean Laws in an unHumean World.Samuel Kimpton-nye - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):129-147.
    I argue that an unHumean ontology of irreducibly dispositional properties might be fruitfully combined with what has typically been thought of as a Humean account of laws, namely, the best-system account, made popular by David Lewis (e.g., 1983, 1986, 1994). In this paper I provide the details of what I argue is the most defensible account of Humean laws in an unHumean world. This package of views has the benefits of upholding scientific realism while doing without any suspect metaphysical entities (...)
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  • Dispositional essentialism and the grounding of natural modality.Siegfried Jaag - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Dispositional essentialism is a non-Humean view about the essences of certain fundamental or natural properties that looms large in recent metaphysics , not least because it promises to explain neatly the natural modalities such as laws of nature, counterfactuals, causation and chance. In the current paper, however, several considerations are presented that indicate a serious tension between its essentialist core thesis and natural “metaphysical” interpretations of its central explanatory claims.
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  • Better Best Systems – Too Good To Be True.Marius Backmann & Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):375-390.
    Craig Callender, Jonathan Cohen and Markus Schrenk have recently argued for an amended version of the best system account of laws – the better best system account (BBSA). This account of lawhood is supposed to account for laws in the special sciences, among other desiderata. Unlike David Lewis's original best system account of laws, the BBSA does not rely on a privileged class of natural predicates, in terms of which the best system is formulated. According to the BBSA, a contingently (...)
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  • Lagrangian possibilities.Alexandre Guay & Quentin Ruyant - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-22.
    Natural modalities are often analysed from an abstract point of view where they are associated with putative laws of nature. However, the way possibilities are represented in physics is more complex. Lagrangian mechanics, for instance, involves two different layers of modalities: kinematical and dynamical possibilities. This paper examines the status of these two layers, both in the classical and quantum case. The quantum case is particularly problematic: we identify four possible interpretive options. The upshot is that a close inspection of (...)
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  • The Consequence Argument and the Possibility of the Laws of Nature Being Violated.Pedro Merlussi - 2024 - Philosophia 52 (2):289-303.
    Brian Cutter objected to the consequence argument due to its dependence on the principle that miracle workers are metaphysically impossible. A miracle worker is someone who has the ability to act in a way such that the laws of nature would be violated. While there is something to the thought that agents like us do not have this ability, Cutter claims that there is no compelling reason to regard miracle workers as metaphysically impossible. However, the paper contends that miracle workers (...)
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  • On some objections to the powers-BSA.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):998-1006.
    This paper responds to Friend’s (2023) critique of the Powers-BSA, a view according to which laws of nature are efficient descriptions of how modally laden properties (powers) are possibly distributed in spacetime. In the course of this response, the paper discusses the nature of scientific and metaphysical explanation, the aim of science and the structure of modal space.
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  • Laws of Nature.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London: Routledge. pp. 337-346.
    Properties have an important role in specifying different views on laws of nature: virtually any position on laws will make some reference to properties, and some of the leading views even reduce laws to properties. This chapter will first outline what laws of nature are typically taken to be and then specify their connection to properties in more detail. We then move on to consider three different accounts of properties: natural, essential, and dispositional properties, and we shall see that different (...)
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  • Dated Truths Without Dated Powers.Giacomo Giannini & Donatella Donati - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Dispositionalism is the theory of modality according to which all (metaphysical and natural) modal truths are made true by some actual irreducibly dispositional property. The relationship between Dispositionalism and time is yet to be satisfactorily explored. In this paper we contribute to this task by examining how Dispositionalism deals with ‘dated truths’: propositions involving a specific time, e.g. “It might rain at 12.30”. We examine two possible accounts: the first, 'Dated Manifestations Strategy', is the idea that powers are very fine-grained, (...)
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  • Causal pluralism: agent causation without the panicky metaphysics.Joseph Martinez - 2023 - Synthese 202 (1):1-21.
    An important divide in the free will literature—one that is arguably almost as common as the distinction between compatibilism and incompatibilism—concerns the distinction between event and substance causation. As the story typically goes, event-causalists maintain that an action is free only if it is caused by appropriate mental events, and agent-causalists maintain that an action is free only if it is caused directly by a substance (the agent). This paper argues that this dichotomy is a false one. It does this (...)
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  • Laws of Nature.Nina Emery - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York: Routledge. pp. 437-338.
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  • Laws of Nature and Theory Choice.Alessandro Torza - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-28.
    I articulate a Global Best-System Account (GBSA) of laws of nature along broadly Mill–Ramsey–Lewis lines. The guiding idea is that the job of laws is to capture real patterns across time—where a pattern is real if it allows to compress information about matters of particular fact. The GBSA’s key ingredient is a definition of ‘best system’ in terms of a ranking method that meets a number of desiderata: it is rigorously defined; it outputs the ranking based on the candidate systems’ (...)
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  • Laws, melodies, and the paradox of predictability.Dorst Chris - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    If the laws of nature are deterministic, then it seems possible that a Laplacean intelligence that knows the initial conditions and the laws would be able to accurately predict everything that will ever happen. However, it would be easy to construct a counterpredictive device that falsifies any revealed prediction about its future behavior. What would then occur if a Laplacean intelligence encountered a counterpredictive device? This is the paradox of predictability. A number of philosophers have proposed solutions to it, though (...)
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  • A puzzle about laws and explanation.Siegfried Jaag - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6085-6102.
    In this paper, we argue that the popular claim that laws of nature explain their instances creates a philosophical puzzle when it is combined with the widely held requirement that explanations need to be underpinned by ‘wordly’ relations. We argue that a “direct solution” to the puzzle that accounts for both explanatory laws and explanatory realism requires endorsing at least a radical metaphysics. Then, we examine the ramifications of a “skeptical solution”, i.e., dissolving it by giving up at least one (...)
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  • Mentaculus Laws and Metaphysics.Heather Demarest - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (3):387--399.
    The laws of nature are central to our understanding of the world. And while there is often broad agreement about the technical formulations of the laws, there can be sharp disagreement about the metaphysical nature of the laws. For instance, the Newtonian laws of nature can be stated and analyzed by appealing to a set of possible worlds. Yet, some philosophers argue the worlds are mere notational devices, while others take them to be robust, concrete entities in their own right. (...)
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  • New powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Synthese 199:2671-2700.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  • Local qualities.Elizabeth Miller - 2018 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 11. Oxford University Press. pp. 224-242.
    For Humean atomists, cosmic contents supervene on a spatiotemporal mosaic of modally insulated, freely recombinable local qualities. One piecemeal subspecies of Humean atomism promises more than global supervenience—somehow or other—on a separable base; it constrains how exactly elemental inputs yield everything else. Roughly, the distribution of basic local qualities across elements in one part of our cosmos metaphysically suffices for the complete local physical state of that part: anything sharing this part’s basic elemental decoration should share its more complete contents, (...)
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  • Dispositions and Powers.Toby Friend & Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Tuomas E. Tahko.
    As we understand them, dispositions are relatively uncontroversial 'predicatory' properties had by objects disposed in certain ways. By contrast, powers are hypothetical 'ontic' properties posited in order to explain dispositional behaviour. Chapter 1 outlines this distinction in more detail. Chapter 2 offers a summary of the issues surrounding analysis of dispositions and various strategies in contemporary literature to address them, including one of our own. Chapter 3 describes some of the important questions facing the metaphysics of powers including why they're (...)
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  • Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws: a deflationary account.Alan Sidelle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Two related claims have lately garnered currency: dispositional essentialism—the view that some or all properties, or some or all fundamental properties, are essentially dispositional; and the claim that laws of nature (or again, many or the fundamental ones) are metaphysically necessary. I have argued elsewhere (On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002) that the laws of nature do not have a mind-independent metaphysical necessity, but recent developments on dispositions have given these ideas a new (...)
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  • Extended Dispositionalism and Determinism.Jonas Werner - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    Modal dispositionalists hold that dispositions provide the foundation of metaphysical necessity and possibility. According to the kind of modal dispositionalism that can be found in the present literature, a proposition p is possible just in case some things are disposed to be such that p. In the first part of this paper I show that combining this classic form of dispositionalism with the assumptions that the laws of nature are necessary and deterministic and that all dispositions are forward-looking in time (...)
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  • Why do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?Chris Dorst - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):545-566.
    This paper aims to explain why the laws of nature are held fixed in counterfactual reasoning. I begin by highlighting three salient features of counterfactual reasoning: it is conservative, nomically guided, and it uses hindsight. I then present a rationale for our engagement in counterfactual reasoning that aims to make sense of these features. In particular, I argue that counterfactual reasoning helps us evaluate the evidential relations between unanticipated pieces of evidence and various hypotheses of interest about the history of (...)
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  • A reductive analysis of statements about universals.Ben White - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    This paper proposes an analysis of statements about universals according to which such statements assert nothing more than that the evidence we’d take to confirm them obtains, where this evidence is understood to consist solely of patterns in the behavior of particulars that cannot be explained by other regularities in the way things behave. On this analysis, to say that a universal exists is simply to say that there is such a pattern in the behavior of certain particulars, and for (...)
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  • Towards a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature.Chris Dorst - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):877-900.
    This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...)
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  • Laws of Nature and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi - 2017 - Dissertation, Durham University
    This thesis investigates the conceptual relationship between laws of nature and free will. In order to clarify the discussion, I begin by distinguishing several questions with respect to the nature of a law: i) do the laws of nature cover everything that happens? ii) are they deterministic? iii) can there be exceptions to universal and deterministic laws? iv) do the laws of nature govern everything in the world? In order to answer these questions I look at three widely endorsed accounts (...)
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