Nature's Metaphysics : Laws and Properties
Nature's Metaphysics argues that a satisfactory philosophy of science requires a metaphysics that is based on the understanding that natural properties are essentially dispositional. Alexander Bird develops a dispositional essentialist account of the laws of nature, defending the claim that laws are metaphysically necessary. Professional philosophers and advanced students working in metaphysics and the philosophy of science will find this book both
provocative and stimulating.
provocative and stimulating.
- Hardback | 246 pages
- 160 x 240 x 20mm | 543g
- 20 Sep 2007
- Oxford University Press
- Clarendon Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
Table of contents
1. Introduction - laws and properties ; 2. Dispositions ; 3. Dispositional essentialism and the laws of nature ; 4. Categoricalism ; 5. Dispositional essentialism, modality, and intentionality ; 6. The regress objection ; 7. Structural properties ; 8. The illusion of nomic contingency ; 9. Are there any laws, and if so what are they? ; 10. Concluding remarks ; References
Alexander Bird has done an excellent job in injecting argumentative rigour into a debate that has come to seem to some as having reached stalemate.... The sheer weight and quality of argument in this book show that this is a debate that has a long way to run yet. Helen Beebee, Times Literary Supplement
Alexander Bird has done an excellent job in injecting argumentative rigour into a debate that has come to seem to some as having reached stalemate.... The sheer weight and quality of argument in this book show that this is a debate that has a long way to run yet. * Helen Beebee, Times Literary Supplement * This is a rewarding book. In terms of area, it has one foot firmly planted in metaphysics and the other just as firmly set in the philosophy of science. Nature's Metaphysics is distinctive for its thorough and detailed defense of fundamental, natural properties as essentially dispositional and for its description of how these dispositional properties are thus suited to sustain the laws of nature as (metaphysically) necessary truths. * John W. Carroll, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * Reading Bird is highly rewarding: he sheds new light on many problems by analysing them in a new way ... Bird's book holds promise to become the authoritative statement of the new dispositionalist metaphysics. * Max Kistler, Mind * the book provides a wealth of interesting details, helpful distinctions, and valuable clarifications, as well as considered, scientifically informed and in-depth argument. Anyone interested in the metaphysics of dispositions, laws of nature and causation will find the book highly illuminating. * Barbara Vetter, Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy * Bird's book is well argued and provocative ... It is 'must reading' for all philosophers concerned with laws, dispositions, an fundamental properties. * Marc Lange, Philosophical Review * an excellent contribution to the burgeoning literature ... whether or not anyone should be convinced of these details of nature's metaphysics, this book certainly provides a wonderfully lucid understanding of what its properties and laws might be like if dispositional essentialism were true. * Anjan Chakravartty, Metascience * The book is notable for its ambitious scope, its clarity, and its careful argumentation. It is a fine addition to the metaphysical literature about properties and laws of nature. It is already beginning to assume the status of a canonical text on the subject ... I recommend that all who want to engage with dispositional essentialism treat this as one of its indispensable texts. * Peter Menzies, Analysis * Bird's exploration and defence of Dispositionalism is impressive. It is detailed, meticulously constructed and insightful, and should do a great deal to persuade philosophers of the position's plausibility. The book is a demanding but very illuminating read. * Simon Bostock, Philosophy *