The Dispositionalist Deity: How God Creates Laws and Why Theists Should Care

How does God govern the world? For many theists “laws of nature” play a vital role. But what are these laws, metaphysically speaking? I shall argue that laws of nature are not external to the objects they govern, but instead should be thought of as reducible to internal features of properties. Recen...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Zygon
Main Author: Page, Ben
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2015]
In:Zygon
Year: 2015, Volume: 50, Issue: 1, Pages: 113-137
Further subjects:B Concurrentism
B laws of nature
B Occasionalism
B Ontology
B Dispositions
B Powers
B Metaphysics
B Philosophy of science
B God
B Teleology
Online Access: Presumably Free Access
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Summary:How does God govern the world? For many theists “laws of nature” play a vital role. But what are these laws, metaphysically speaking? I shall argue that laws of nature are not external to the objects they govern, but instead should be thought of as reducible to internal features of properties. Recent work in metaphysics and philosophy of science has revived a dispositionalist conception of nature, according to which nature is not passive, but active and dynamic. Disposition theorists see particulars as being internally powerful rather than being governed by external laws of nature, making external laws in effect ontologically otiose. I will argue that theists should prefer a dispositionalist ontology, since it leads them toward the theory of concurrentism in divine conservation, rather than occasionalism, and revives the distinction between internal and external teleology. God on this view does not govern the world through external laws of nature, but rather through internal aspects of powerful properties.
ISSN:1467-9744
Contains:Enthalten in: Zygon
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12150