The Flat Analysis of Properties and the Unity of Science
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The flat analysis of properties is composed of two theses. According to the first, there is only one flat level of properties, and any two objects sharing a property are exactly similar in respect of that property. There is no multiply realizable property. There are multiply realizable predicates designating sets of similar (not exactly similar) properties. The second thesis expresses an identity theory: properties are simultaneously dispositional and qualitative. In this paper, I will argue that the first thesis entails a version of the unity of science.
Analyzing a special-science law that connects two individual multiply realizable predicates (P → Q), according to the flat view, reveals that the antecedent and consequent of this law designate sets of similar properties: pis are similar properties designated by P, and qis by Q.
It will be argued that what such a special-science laws says is in fact what a fundamental law says plus a conceptual truth about the nature of similarity that is common among all special-science laws. Therefore, there is a unity between contents of the individual special-science laws and contents of the fundamental laws.
Whether this strategy is applicable in the case of collective multiply realizable predicates, and whether the unity of content can be obtained for collective special-science laws are open questions that will be discussed at the end of this paper.
KeywordsSimilarity Principle Conceptual Truth Individual Predicate Constant Birth Rate Ontological Entity
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