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The Four-Category OntologyA Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science$
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E. J. Lowe

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199254392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199254397.001.0001

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Categorial Ontology and Scientific Essentialism

Categorial Ontology and Scientific Essentialism

Chapter:
(p.156) 10 Categorial Ontology and Scientific Essentialism
Source:
The Four-Category Ontology
Author(s):

E. J. Lowe (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199254397.003.0010

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

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