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Categoricalism, Dispositionalism, and the Epistemology of Properties

Tugby, Matthew

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Notoriously, the dispositional view of natural properties is thought to face a number of regress problems, one of which points to an epistemological worry. In this paper, I argue that the rival categorical view is also susceptible to the same kind of regress problem. This problem can be overcome, most plausibly, with the development of a structuralist epistemology. After identifying problems faced by alternative solutions, I sketch the main features of this structuralist epistemological approach, referring to graph-theoretic modelling in the process. Given that both the categoricalists and dispositionalists are under pressure to adopt this same epistemological approach in light of the regress problem, this suggests that the categoricalist versus dispositionalist debate is best fought on metaphysical rather than epistemological grounds.


Tugby, M. (2014). Categoricalism, Dispositionalism, and the Epistemology of Properties. Synthese, 191(6), 1147-1162.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2013
Online Publication Date Jul 26, 2013
Publication Date Apr 1, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2013
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2015
Journal Synthese
Print ISSN 0039-7857
Electronic ISSN 1573-0964
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 191
Issue 6
Pages 1147-1162
Public URL


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