Powers, Persistence and Process

In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism. Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: (forthcoming)

Authors
Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann)
University of Southampton
Abstract
Stephen Mumford has argued that dispositionalists ought to be endurantists because perdurantism, by breaking down persisting objects in sequences of static discrete existents, is at odds with a powers metaphysics. This has been contested by Neil Williams who offers his own version of ‘powerful’ perdurance where powers function as links between the temporal parts of persisting objects. Weighing up the arguments given by both sides, I show that the profile of ‘powerful’ persistence crucially depends on how one conceptualises the processes involved in the manifestation of powers. As this turns out not to be determined per se by subscribing to some view labelled ‘powers view’, further discussion is needed as to what processes are and to what kind of process theory a powers metaphysics should commit itself in order to be convincing. I defend the claim that dispositionalism is best combined with a version of process ontology that is indeed incompatible with a perdurantist analysis of persistence. However, I argue that this does not imply that dispositionalists ought to be endurantists.
Keywords dispositions  persistence  perdurance  endurance  process ontology  Humeanism  dynamism
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