Chapter

Categorial Ontology and Scientific Essentialism

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/10.1093/0199254397.003.0010
 Categorial Ontology and Scientific Essentialism

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The sense in which laws are necessary is reviewed. The relationship between natural laws and natural kinds is emphasized. The relationship between natural laws and causal powers is further explored, focusing on the advantages of an approach based on the four-category ontology over alternative theories of these matters. The claim of scientific essentialists that natural laws are metaphysically necessary is reviewed in the light of the problem known as ‘Bradley’s regress’, and is accepted in the case of fundamental laws but not in other cases. The idea that so-called natural or nomic necessity constitutes a genuine kind of necessity is challenged.

Keywords: Bradley’s regress; categories; causal powers; laws of nature; metaphysical necessity; natural kinds; natural necessity; scientific essentialism

Chapter.  9601 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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