The Four-category Ontology
A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science
By (author) E. J. Lowe
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Four-category Ontology by E. J. Lowe
Book DescriptionE. 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 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 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 more 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. Contents List
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199229819
(233mm x 154mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 1-Nov-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author E. J. Lowe
Forms of Thought, Paperback (July 2015)
Lowe investigates the forms of thought, showing how this study is crucial to understanding the powers of the intellect.
More Kinds of Being, Paperback (December 2014)
Taking into account significant developments in the metaphysical thinking of E.J. Lowe over the past 20 years, More Kinds of Being:A Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms presents a thorough reworking and expansion of the 1989 edition of Kinds of Being.
Mental Causation and Ontology, Hardback (March 2013)View all books by E. J. Lowe
This book demonstrates the importance of ontology for a central debate in philosophy of mind. Mental causation seems an obvious aspect of the world. But it is hard to understand how it can happen unless we get clear about what the entities involved in the process are. An international team of contributors presents new work on this problem.
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