more from Stephen Mumford

Single Idea 14320

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation]

Full Idea

The behaviour of subatomic particles cannot be further analysed into structures and this may tempt us to regard these as instances of 'brute' ungrounded dispositions which end any possible regress of explanation.

Gist of Idea

Subatomic particles may terminate explanation, if they lack structure


Stephen Mumford (Dispositions [1998], 06.4)

Book Reference

Mumford,Stephen: 'Dispositions' [OUP 1998], p.133

A Reaction

This seems right, if it is 'structural' explanations we are after (as I think we are) which look for mechanisms. An electron seems to be just three dispositions and no structure, so there is nothing more to say. Ladyman scorns this account.

Related Idea

Idea 14319 Nomothetic explanations cite laws, and structural explanations cite mechanisms [Mumford]