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Ideas of Anjan Chakravarrty, by Text

[Canadian, fl. 2007, Professor at the University of Toronto.]

2012 Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences
1 p.4 Explanation of causal phenomena concerns essential kinds - but also lack of them
     Full Idea: Scientific practices such as prediction and explanation regarding causal phenomena are concerned not merely with kinds having essences, but also with kinds lacking them.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 1)
     A reaction: Not quite clear what he has in mind, but explanation should certainly involve a coherent picture, and not just the citation of some underlying causal mechanism.
2 p.4 Some kinds, such as electrons, have essences, but 'cluster kinds' do not
     Full Idea: Many of the kinds we theorize about and experiment on today simply do not have essences. We can distinguish 'essence kinds', such as electrons, and 'cluster kinds', such as biological species.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 2)
     A reaction: This is an important point for essentialists. He offers a strict criterion, in Idea 15145, for mind membership, but we might allow species to have essences by just relaxing the criteria a bit, and acknowledging some vagueness, especially over time.
2 p.4 A kind essence is the necessary and sufficient properties for membership of a class
     Full Idea: The modern concept of a kind essence is a set of intrinsic properties that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for the membership of something in a class of things, or 'kind'.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 2)
     A reaction: I am always struck by the problem that the kind itself is constructed from the individuals, so circularity always seems to loom.
2 p.6 Cluster kinds are explained simply by sharing some properties, not by an 'essence'
     Full Idea: The fact that members of some cluster kinds are subjects of causal generalizations reflects the degree to which they share causally efficacious properties, not the fact that they may be composed of essence kinds per se.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 2)
     A reaction: I think this is right. I am a fan of individual essences, but not of kind essences. I take kinds, and kind explanations, to be straightforward inductive generalisations from individuals. Extreme stabilities give the illusion of a kind essence.
3 p.9 Powers give explanations, without being necessary for some class membership
     Full Idea: Powers explain behaviours regardless of whether they are necessary for membership in a particular class of things.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 3)
     A reaction: This seems right, and is important for driving a wedge between powers and essences. If there are essences, they are not simply some bunch of powers.
3 p.10 Many causal laws do not refer to kinds, but only to properties
     Full Idea: Causal laws often do not make reference to kinds of objects at all, but rather summarize relations between quantitative, causally efficacious properties of objects.
     From: Anjan Chakravarrty (Inessential Aristotle: Powers without Essences [2012], 3)
     A reaction: This would only be a serious challenge if it was not possible to translate talk of properties into talk of kinds, and vice versa.