Ideas from 'Scientific Essentialism' by Brian Ellis [2001], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Scientific Essentialism' by Ellis,Brian [CUP 2007,0-521-03774-3]].

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
Ontology should give insight into or an explanation of the world revealed by science
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 3. Modal Logic Systems / h. System S5
Real possibility and necessity has the logic of S5, which links equivalence classes of worlds of the same kind
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 6. Extensionalism
Humean conceptions of reality drive the adoption of extensional logic
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 1. Nature of Properties
The extension of a property is a contingent fact, so cannot be the essence of the property
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
There is no property of 'fragility', as things are each fragile in a distinctive way
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
Typical 'categorical' properties are spatio-temporal, such as shape
The property of 'being an electron' is not of anything, and only electrons could have it
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
'Being a methane molecule' is not a property - it is just a predicate
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Causal powers are often directional (e.g. centripetal, centrifugal, circulatory)
Causal powers must necessarily act the way they do
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Basic powers may not be explained by structure, if at the bottom level there is no structure
Maybe dispositions can be explained by intrinsic properties or structures
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
The most fundamental properties of nature (mass, charge, spin ...) all seem to be dispositions
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers
A causal power is a disposition to produce forces
Powers are dispositions of the essences of kinds that involve them in causation
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Universals are all types of natural kind
There are 'substantive' (objects of some kind), 'dynamic' (events of some kind) and 'property' universals
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Scientific essentialism doesn't really need Kripkean individual essences
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
The old idea that identity depends on essence and behaviour is rejected by the empiricists
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
Necessities are distinguished by their grounds, not their different modalities
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 6. Necessity from Essence
Individual essences necessitate that individual; natural kind essences necessitate kind membership
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
If events are unconnected, then induction cannot be solved
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / c. Explanations by coherence
Good explanations unify
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / h. Explanations by mechanism
Explanations of particular events are not essentialist, as they don't reveal essential structures
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
To give essentialist explanations there have to be natural kinds
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 6. Idealisation
The point of models in theories is not to idealise, but to focus on what is essential
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / c. Knowing kinds
There might be uninstantiated natural kinds, such as transuranic elements which have never occurred
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / d. Source of kinds
Natural kinds are distinguished by resting on essences
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / g. Critique of kinds
If there are borderline cases between natural kinds, that makes them superficial
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Laws don't exist in the world; they are true of the world
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
A proton must have its causal role, because without it it wouldn't be a proton
What is most distinctive of scientific essentialism is regarding processes as natural kinds
Scientific essentialism is more concerned with explanation than with identity (Locke, not Kripke)
The ontological fundamentals are dispositions, and also categorical (spatio-temporal and structural) properties
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
A primary aim of science is to show the limits of the possible