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Nature's MetaphysicsLaws and Properties$
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Alexander Bird

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227013

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227013.001.0001

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The Regress Objection

The Regress Objection

(p.132) 6 The Regress Objection
Nature's Metaphysics

Alexander Bird (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It is often claimed (e.g., by Swinburne, Armstrong, and Lowe) that the view that all natural properties are potencies leads to a vicious regress or circularity. The possible interpretations of this argument are examined, and the most pressing is that the regress leaves the identity of potencies indeterminate. This argument is equivalent to the claim that when the network of properties is represented as a graph, that graph has non-trivial automorphisms. It is shown that a graph can suitably represent the network of essentially dispositional properties while having no non-trivial automorphisms; and so the identity of each member of a set of potencies can supervene solely on the structure of relations among those potencies.

Keywords:   circularity, graph theory, automorphism, identity, Armstrong, Swinburne, Lowe

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