Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Douglas Jesseph, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Alexander Levine, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger Ariew, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Otávio Bueno, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Carroll, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Winsberg, Ph.D.


Epistemology, Metaphysics, Naturalism, Ontology


Recent literature concerning laws of nature highlight the close relationship between general metaphysics and philosophy of science. In particular, a person's theoretical commitments in either have direct implications for her stance on laws. In this dissertation, I argue that an ontic structural realist should be a realist about laws, but only within a non-Whiteheadean process framework. Without the adoption of a process framework, any account of laws the ontic structural realist offers will require metaphysical commitments that are at odds with ontic structural realism. In arguing towards this aim, I adopt an attenuated methodological naturalistic stance to show that traditional substance metaphysics, of the sort neo-Aristotelians endorse, is problematic and that we have naturalistic reasons for further developing process metaphysics. I then apply this framework to develop a processual account of mereological structures and show how we can understand structures as being stable processes. In the final section, I argue that these are the kind of structures with which the ontic structural realist concerns herself. By adopting a realist account of laws the ontic structural realist can explain how these structures enter into modal and causal relations.