Synthese

pp 1–21 | Cite as

A plenitude of powers

S.I.: Ground, Essence, Modality

Abstract

Dispositionalism about modality is the view that metaphysical modality is a matter of the dispositions possessed by actual objects. In a recent paper, David Yates has raised an important worry about the formal adequacy of dispositionalism. This paper responds to Yates’s worry by developing a reply that Yates discusses briefly but dismisses as ad hoc: an appeal to a ’plenitude of powers’ including such powers as the necessarily always manifested power (or disposition) for \(2+2\) to be 4. I argue that the reply is not ad hoc at all, by defending the metaphysics of dispositions that should underly it. I then argue, first, that a proper understanding of dispositions’ degrees provides us with an argument for such necessarily always manifested dispositions; second, that all the natural attempts to block that argument can be resisted without being ad hoc; and third, that pragmatic considerations explain our intuitive resistance to the ascription of necessarily always manifested dispositions. Dispositionalism can be formally adequate after all.

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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PhilosophieFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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