Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 59–71 | Cite as

Hamilton’s Principle and Dispositional Essentialism: Friends or Foes?

  • Vassilis Livanios


Most recently Smart and Thébault revived an almost forgotten debate between Katzav and Ellis on the compatibility of Hamilton’s Principle (HP) with Dispositional Essentialism (DE). Katzav’s arguments inter alia aim to show that HP (a) presupposes a kind of metaphysical contingency which is at odds with the basic tenets of DE, and (b) offers explanations of a different type and direction from those given by DE. In this paper I argue that though dispositional essentialists might adequately respond to these arguments, the question about the compatibility of HP with DE has not been answered yet; therefore, dispositional essentialists have not yet provided an illuminating DE-friendly metaphysical account of HP.


Hamilton’s Principle Principle of Least Action Dispositional Essentialism Meta-laws Metaphysical explanation 



Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the colloquium of the Department of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Athens (2015) and the Inaugural Conference of the East European Network for Philosophy of Science (New Bulgarian University, Sofia 2016). I would like to thank the participants for their helpful comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Classics and PhilosophyUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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