What Do Powers Do When They Are Not Manifested?

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (1):137-156 (2006)
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Abstract

In the present paper, I offer a conceptual argument against the view that all properties are pure powers. I claim that thinking of all properties as pure powers leads to a regress. The regress, I argue, can be solved only if non-powers are admitted. The kernel of my thesis is that any attempt to answer the title question in an informative way will undermine a pure-power view of properties. In particular, I focus my critique on recent arguments in favour of pure powers by the Late George Molnar and Jennifer McKitrick. The lines of defence of the friends of powers converge on what I call 'the ultimate argument for powers', viz., that current physics entails (or supports) the view that the fundamental properties (spin, mass, charge) are ungrounded powers. I take issue with this argument and make a modest suggestion: that the evidence from current physics is inconclusive

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Stathis Psillos
University of Athens

Citations of this work

Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism.David Yates - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
Grounding Theories of Powers.Matthew Tugby - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):11187-11216.

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References found in this work

Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
From an Ontological Point of View.John Heil - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.

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