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metaphysics of science

an AHRC funded research project

causes, laws, kinds, and dispositions

project description

We naturally think that what happens in the universe is governed by laws of nature. We also think that events are causally related to other events, that things are naturally classified into kinds (physical, chemical and biological kinds, for example), and that at least some natural kinds have distinctive dispositions (for example, the disposition of NaCl to dissolve in water). This project explores how, or whether, all these distinct notions - law, cause, natural kind, disposition - can be made to fit together into a coherent and unified worldview. For example, must two causally related events be such that they are members of kinds that are lawfully related? Must those kinds be natural kinds? Are natural kinds distinguished from one another by the fact that members of different kinds are disposed to behave in different ways? This was an AHRC sponsored project which ran from October 2006 to March 2010, based at the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, and Nottingham.

project leaders

postdoctoral research fellows

Three postdoctoral research fellows worked on the project:

doctoral students

Two PhD students worked on the project.