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The Metaphysics of Relations$
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Anna Marmodoro and David Yates

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.001.0001

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What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be

What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be

Chapter:
(p.157) 10 What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be
Source:
The Metaphysics of Relations
Author(s):

Nora Berenstain

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.003.0010

Causal structuralism is the view that, for each natural, non-mathematical, non-Cambridge property, there is a causal profile that exhausts its individual essence. It is generally contrasted with the Humean view of properties, which states that having a property’s causal profile is neither necessary nor sufficient for being that property, and with the double-aspect view, which states that causal profile is necessary but not sufficient. Arguments in favour of causal structuralism primarily focus on problematic consequences of the other two views. In this chapter it is argued that causation does not provide an appropriate framework within which to characterize all physical properties. After distinguishing between the causal and the nomological, it is suggested that what is needed is a structuralist view of properties that is not merely causal but incorporates a physical property’s higher-order mathematical and nomological properties into its identity conditions.

Keywords:   causal structuralism, dispositional essentialism, laws of nature, nomological structure, mathematical structure, meta-laws, modality

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