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The Nomic Role Account of Carving Reality at the Joints

Peter Vallentyne
Synthese
Vol. 115, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 171-198
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118050
Page Count: 28
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The Nomic Role Account of Carving Reality at the Joints
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Abstract

Natural properties are those that carve reality at the joints. The notion of carving reality at the joints, however, is somewhat obscure, and is often understood in terms of making for similarity, conferring causal powers, or figuring in the laws of nature. I develop and assess an account of the third sort according to which carving reality at the joints is understood as having the right level of determinacy relative to nomic roles. The account has the attraction of involving very weak metaphysical presuppositions, but fails to capture several features that natural properties are presumed to have.

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