The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science
E. J. Lowe sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system that recognizes two fundamental categorial distinctions which cut across each other to generate four fundamental ontological categories. The distinctions are between the particular and the universal and between the substantial and the non-substantial. The four categories thus generated are substantial particulars, non-substantial particulars, substantial universals andnon-substantial universals. Non-substantial universals include properties and relations, conceived as universals. Non-substantial particulars include property-instances and relation-instances, otherwise known as non-relational and relational tropes or modes. Substantial particulars include propertiedindividuals, the paradigm examples of which are persisting, concrete objects. Substantial universals are otherwise known as substantial kinds and include as paradigm examples natural kinds of persisting objects.This ontology has a lengthy pedigree, many commentators attributing it to Aristotle on the basis of certain passages in his apparently early work, the Categories. At various times during the history of Western philosophy, it has been revived or rediscovered, but it has never found universal favour, perhaps on account of its apparent lack of parsimony as well as its commitment to universals. In pursuit of ontological economy, metaphysicians have generally preferred to recognize fewerthan four fundamental ontological categories. However, Occam's razor stipulates only that we should not multiply entities beyond necessity; Lowe argues that the four-category ontology has an explanatory power unrivalled by more parsimonious systems, and that this counts decisively in its favour. He shows thatit provides a powerful explanatory framework for a unified account of causation, dispositions, natural laws, natural necessity and many other related matters, such as the semantics of counterfactual conditionals and the character of the truthmaking relation. As such, it constitutes a thoroughgoing metaphysical foundation for natural science.
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The Four-Category Ontology:A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science: A ...
E. J. Lowe
No preview available - 2005
abstract Abstract Particulars actual affairs apple aqua regia Armstrong category of universals causal Chapter characterized conceived concept constituents contingent counterfactual conditionals course D. M. Armstrong denote dispositional distinction between universals electrons entities belonging essence example exemplified existence and identity existential dependence express fact Fido Fness formal ontological relations four-category ontology Frege Frege–Russell fundamental Gottlob Frege identity conditions immanent individual substances instantiation laws of nature least matter metaphysical necessity metaphysically necessary Molnar Mont Blanc natural laws non-substantial universals ontological categories Ontological Square ontologically dependent ontologists Oxford particular instances particular objects particular properties philosophers possesses Possibility of Metaphysics possible world properties and relations property-bearers property-instances question Ramsey Ramsey’s roundness mode seems sense sentence Socrates sodium chloride Sortal statement substantial universals suppose things trope theorists tropes truth truth-bearers truthmaker unit negative charge universals and particulars W. V. Quine water dissolves