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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Matthew Tugby

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

Author(s) from Durham


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.