Emergence project seminar Wed March 24

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday 24 March, and will feature a talk from Samuel Kimpton-Nye (Bristol) on pandispositionalism. All welcome!

 

For details of past and upcoming talks, please see: https://www.kdyates.com/events/#upcoming.

 

Abstract

Some philosophers maintain that physical properties are irreducibly modal; that properties are powers. Powers are then employed to provide philosophical explanations of other phenomena of philosophical interest such as laws of nature and modality. There is, however, a dispute among powers theorists about how far the powers ontology extends: are all manner of properties at all levels of fundamentality powers or, are powers only to be found among the fundamental properties? I argue that the answer to this question depends on the details of the metaphysics of powers. More specifically, I argue that if one understands powers as qualitative grounds of dispositions (call this qualitative dispositional essentialism), as opposed to properties whose essences are constituted by dispositions (as orthodox dispositional essentialists would have it), then all properties are powers, i.e., pandispositionalism is true. The conclusion: If qualitative dispositional essentialism is true, then pandispositionalism is true, is significant because there is increasing concern that orthodox dispositional essentialism is explanatorily deficient and perhaps even incoherent, meaning that qualitative dispositional essentialism is gaining increasing support in the literature on powers. All things considered, then, it is beginning to look more likely that pandispositionalism is true simpliciter.