Chapter

Dispositions and Natural Laws

E. J. Lowe

in The Four-Category Ontology

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780199254392
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603600 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199254397.003.0008
 Dispositions and Natural Laws

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The customary distinction between dispositional and categorical properties is critically examined, and replaced by one between dispositional and occurrent predication. The ontological ground of the latter distinction is explained using the framework of the four-category ontology. An account is sketched of the ontological status of laws of nature, and its similarities to and differences from D. M. Armstrong’s account are discussed, particularly the key role in the new account of the categorial distinction between substantial and non-substantial universals. A theory of natural powers is advanced and contrasted with the recent theories of C. B. Martin and George Molnar.

Keywords: D. M. Armstrong; categories; dispositions; laws of nature; C. B. Martin; George Molnar; natural powers; predication; universals

Chapter.  9967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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