The Identity Theory of Powers Revised

Erkenntnis 86 (3):603-621 (2021)
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Abstract

Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a contradiction objection that undermines its merits. We should therefore consider an alternative version that does not embrace the identity claim. My aim is to show that we can enjoy the benefits of the Identity Theory without embracing the identity between the dispositional and the qualitative. I shall argue that a distinction between two senses of dispositionality and qualitativity serves the purpose. I will then discuss three readings of the identity claim that can be formulated in light of such a distinction. I will conclude that even if the identity were to fail in any of the suggested readings, it would be possible to hold an account of fundamental powerful qualities.

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Author's Profile

Joaquim Giannotti
University of Glasgow (PhD)

Citations of this work

Divine Simplicity.Joshua Reginald Sijuwade - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (1):143-179.
Making sense of powerful qualities.Ashley Coates - 2021 - Synthese 198 (9):8347-8363.
Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Grounding theories of powers.Matthew Tugby - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11187-11216.
Dispositions and Powers.Toby Friend & Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Tuomas E. Tahko.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Alexander Bird - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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