Single Idea 5492

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / e. Anti scientific essentialism]

Full Idea

In Newtonian physics the distance between two objects determines the attractive forces between them, but then the objects will have to be sensitive to the distance, in order to 'know' what forces to generate; but distance isn't a causal power.

Gist of Idea

How can essences generate the right powers to vary with distance between objects?


David M. Armstrong (Two Problems for Essentialism [2001], p.170)

Book Reference

Ellis,Brian: 'The Philosophy of Nature: new essentialism' [Acumen 2002], p.170

A Reaction

Ellis replies that he is not troubled, because he believes in essential properties which are separate from their causal roles. Indeed, how else could you explain their causal roles? Still, distance must be mentioned when explaining gravity.