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Varieties of Dispositional Essentialism about Natural Laws

Hirèche, Salim (2020) Varieties of Dispositional Essentialism about Natural Laws. [Preprint]

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Abstract

An important task for metaphysicians and philosophers of science is to account for laws of nature – in particular, how they distinguish themselves from ‘mere’ regularities, and the modal force they are endowed with, ‘natural necessity’. Dispositional essentialism about laws (for short: ‘essentialism’) is roughly the view that laws distinguish themselves by being grounded in the essences of natural entities (e.g. kinds, properties). This paper does not primarily concern how essentialism compares to its main rivals – Humeanism and Armstrongeanism. Rather, it distinguishes and comparatively assesses various brands of essentialism – which mainly differ as to where exactly they take laws to find their essentialist sources (e.g. in particular entities, like electrons, or in larger pluralities of entities, or in the world as a whole), and what they take to be the targets of laws, namely what they apply to. Yet, this internal comparison is not unrelated to the more general debate about laws: the main criteria with which I compare these essentialist views concern how they can deal with some of the main objections faced by essentialism in general (the modal status it typically attributes to laws, which some think is too strong; and its alleged incapacity to account for the most 'general' laws, like conservation laws), and how they can keep what is arguably the main intuitive advantage of essentialism over its rivals (the fact that, on this view, things “govern themselves”). Thus, the paper also concerns the relative position of essentialism in the larger debate about laws – ultimately bringing support to it.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Hirèche, Salimsalim.hireche@unige.ch
Keywords: Dispositional Essentialism; Laws of Nature; Natural Necessity; Natural Self-Governance.
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Depositing User: Dr Salim Hirèche
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 21:00
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 21:00
Item ID: 18990
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Date: 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18990

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