Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):61-82 (2018)

Vassilis Livanios
University of Cyprus
Categorical Monism (that is, the view that all fundamental natural properties are purely categorical) has recently been challenged by a number of philosophers. In this paper, I examine a challenge which can be based on Gabriele Contessa’s [10] defence of the view that only powers can confer dispositions. In his paper Contessa argues against what he calls the Nomic Theory of Disposition Conferral (NTDC). According to NTDC, in each world in which they exist, (categorical) properties confer specific dispositions on their bearers; yet, which disposition a (categorical) property confers on its bearers depends on what the (contingent) laws of nature happen to be. Contessa, inter alia, rests his case on an intuitive analogy between cases of mimicking (in which objects do not actually possess the dispositions associated with their displayed behaviour) and cases of disposition conferral through the action of laws. In this paper, I criticize various aspects of Contessa’s argumentation and show that the conclusion he arrives at (that is, only powers can confer dispositions) is controversial.
Keywords powers  dispositions  laws of nature  categorical properties  mimicking
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Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar (ed.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Defining 'Intrinsic'.Rae Langton & David Lewis - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):333-345.
Causal and Metaphysical Necessity.Sydney Shoemaker - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):59–77.

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