more from Brian Ellis

Single Idea 6612

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences]

Full Idea

It is objected to dispositionalism that without the principle of least action, or some general principle of equal power, the specific dispositional properties of things could tell us very little about how these things would be disposed to behave.


'Least action' says nature always takes the shortest route

Gist of Idea

Without general principles, we couldn't predict the behaviour of dispositional properties


Brian Ellis (Katzav on limitations of dispositions [2005], 90)

Book Reference

-: 'Analysis 65.1 Jan 2005' [- 2005], p.90

A Reaction

Ellis attempts to meet this criticism, by placing dispositional properties within a hierarchy of broader properties. There remains a nagging doubt about how essentialism can account for space, time, order, and the existence of essences.