, Volume 84, Issue 5, pp 1179–1182 | Cite as

Barbara Vetter: Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality

Oxford University Press, 2015, 352 pp, £52.00 (Hardback), ISBN: 9780198714316
  • Jennifer McKitrickEmail author
Book review

In recent years, there have been several books written about dispositions. Barbara Vetter’s Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality is another, but it is not justanother. Vetter’s book stands out as an ambitious, original, and systematic attempt to develop a new account of metaphysical modality in terms of dispositional properties she calls ‘potentialities.’ According to Vetter, saying that something has a disposition, like fragility or flammability, is to say something about what it can do, such as break or burn. Dispositional concepts are members of a broader class of modal concepts, which also includes necessity, possibility, causation, laws, and essence. Vetter’s basic idea is that potentialities are fundamental, and other modal notions should be understood in terms of them. While she is not the first to suggest that modality can be grounded in dispositional properties, Vetter moves beyond the mere suggestion to present a detailed potentiality-based account of modality and...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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