The Four Category Ontology A Metaphysical Foundation for

  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • The Four Category Ontology A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science
  • E.J. Lowe
  • English
  • 17 September 2016
  • 9780199229819

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The Four Category Ontology A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural ScienceExceptionally clear and coherent description of the aristotelian framework he lives in I liked especially that he is touching so many issues sorrounding the ontology that he proposses Trope theory state of affair ontology and nominalism as well as particularism are all dealt with in this book Although the latter half roughly beginning with chapter 8 becomes a little repetitive 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 and non 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 propertied individuals 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 objectsThis 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 fewer than 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 parsimonious systems and that this counts decisively in its favour He shows that it 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 I read roughly half of this book the sections that did not overlap with other of Lowe's work As always Lowe is good at building a believable and coherent framework However this book is a bit less focused than other of his books