An Armstrongian defense of dispositional monist accounts of laws of nature

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (3):1-15 (2022)
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Bird reveals an important problem at the heart of Armstrong’s theory of laws of nature: to explain how a law necessitates its corresponding regularity, Armstrong is committed to a vicious regress. In his very brief response, Armstrong gestures towards an argument that, as he admits, is more of a “speculation.” Later, Barker and Smart argue that a very similar problem threatens Bird’s dispositional monist theory of laws of nature and he is committed to a similar vicious regress. In this paper, first, I construct Armstrong’s would-be argument in response to Bird. Second, I argue that his response makes his account of laws and natural properties incompatible with science. Finally, I argue that Armstrong’s strategy to address Bird’s criticism can be used, quite ironically, to defuse Barker and Smart’s argument against Bird.

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Mousa Mohammadian
American University of Beirut


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