While the phrase "metaphysics of science" has been used from time to time, it has only recently begun to denote a specific research area where metaphysics meets philosophy of science—and the sciences themselves. The essays in this volume demonstrate that metaphysics of science is an innovative field of research in its own right. The principle areas covered are:

  • The modal metaphysics of properties: What is the essential nature of natural properties? Are all properties essentially categorical? Are they all essentially dispositions, or are some categorical and others dispositional?
  • Realism in mathematics and its relation to science: What does a naturalistic commitment of scientific realism tell us about our commitments to mathematical entities? Can this question be framed in something other than a Quinean philosophy?
  • Dispositions and their relation to causation: Can we generate an account of causation that takes dispositionality as fundamental? And if we take dispositions as fundamental (and hence not having a categorical causal basis), what is the ontological ground of dispositions?
  • Pandispositionalism: Could all properties be dispositional in nature?
  • Natural kinds: Are there natural kinds, and if so what account of their nature should we give? For example, do they have essences? Here we consider how these issues may be illuminated by considering examples from reals science, in particular biochemistry and neurobiology.

chapter |8 pages


ByBrian Ellis, Howard Sankey, Alexander Bird

part I|33 pages

Symposium On Properties

chapter 1|16 pages

The Categorical Dimensions Of The Causal Powers

ByBrian Ellis

chapter 2|7 pages

Defending Categoricalism

ByD. M. Armstrong

chapter 3|7 pages

Monistic Dispositional Essentialism

ByAlexander Bird

part II|17 pages

Levels Of Inquiry

chapter 4|15 pages

Levels Of Reality And Scales Of Application

ByPatrick McGivern

part III|37 pages

Realism In Mathematics

chapter 5|18 pages

Anti-Nominalistic Scientific Realism: A Defence

ByStathis Psillos

chapter 6|17 pages

Indispensability Without Platonism

ByAnne Newstead, James Franklin

part IV|64 pages

Dispositions And Causal Powers

chapter 7|18 pages

Causal Dispositionalism

ByStephen Mumford, Rani Lill Anjum

chapter 8|19 pages

Powerful Properties And The Causal Basis Of Dispositions

ByMax Kistler

chapter 9|24 pages

Four Theories Of Pure Dispositions

ByWilliam A. Bauer

part V|53 pages


chapter 10|15 pages

The Metaphysics Of Pan-Dispositionalism

ByMatthew Tugby

chapter 11|20 pages

The Categorical–Dispositional Distinction

BySharon R. Ford

chapter 12|15 pages

Dispositional Essentialism And The Laws Of Nature

ByBarbara Vetter

part VI|39 pages

Natural Kinds

chapter 13|13 pages

The Metaphysics Of Determinable Kinds

ByEmma Tobin

chapter 14|23 pages

Scientific Kinds Without Essences

ByCorinne L. Bloch