David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dialectica 63 (4):591-601 (2009)
Dispositions can combine as vector sums. Recent authors on dispositions, such as George Molnar and Stephen Mumford, have responded to this feature of dispositions by introducing a distinction between effects and contributions to effects, and by identifying disposition-manifestations with the latter. But some have been sceptical of the reality or knowability of component vectors; Jennifer McKitrick (forthcoming) presses these concerns against the conception of manifestations as contributions to effects. In this paper, I aim to respond to McKitrick's arguments and to defend the metaphysical and epistemological propriety of component vectors. My strategy appeals to varying kinematic frames of reference. By transforming to the appropriate non-inertial frame, component acceleration vectors can be transformed into resultant acceleration vectors, and in such frames they become directly observable. Being a component acceleration vector and being a resultant acceleration vector are both frame-dependent properties of properties; they are not to be thought of as intrinsic or fundamental properties of an acceleration vector, but as artefacts of our frame-dependent notation for representing vector quantities. To conclude the paper, I defend the view proposed against two styles of objection. The first objection resurrects scepticism about component vectors as scepticism about fundamental component vectors. The second objection questions the need for reference frames in the explanation by invoking a 'counterfactual' theory of contributions.
|Keywords||disposition manifestation reference frame vector component|
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References found in this work BETA
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Jerry A. Fodor & Brian P. McLaughlin (1990). Connectionism and the Problem of Systematicity: Why Smolensky's Solution Doesn't Work. Cognition 35 (2):183-205.
Jennifer McKitrick (2010). Manifestations as Effects. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.
George Molnar (2003). Powers: A Study in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
Stephen Mumford (2009). Passing Powers Around. The Monist 92 (1):94-111.
Citations of this work BETA
Jessica M. Wilson (2010). The Causal Argument Against Component Forces. Dialectica 63 (4):525-554.
Dwayne Moore (2012). A Non-Reductive Model of Component Forces and Resultant Force. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):359-380.
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