Manifestations as effects

In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. New York: Routledge (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

According to a standard characterization of dispositions, when a disposition is activated by a stimulus, a manifestation of that disposition typically occurs. For example, when flammable gasoline encounters a spark in an oxygen-rich environment, the manifestation of flammability—combustion—occurs. In the dispositions/powers literature, it is common to assume that a manifestation is an effect of a disposition being activated. (I use “disposition” and “power” interchangeably). I address two questions in this chapter: Could all manifestations be effects that involve things acquiring only dispositional properties? And, is thinking of manifestations as contributions to effects preferable to thinking of them as effects? I defend negative responses to both questions. If all properties are dispositional, as the pandispositionalists claim, then any time the activation of a disposition results is something acquiring a new property, it results in something acquiring another disposition. Some worry that a vicious regress ensues (Swinburne, 1980; Bird, 2007a, 2007b: 132-46). While I believe that regress arguments can be addressed, my worry is that, on the pandispositionalist view, manifestations become unobservable. Thinking of manifestations as effects is problematic in cases where what actually occurs is not the kind of effect that the power is a power for, but rather a complex interaction of various powers. Because of this, some prefer to think of manifestations as contributions to effects (Molnar, 2003: 194-8; Mumford, 2009). I argue against this proposal on the ground that it introduces mysterious new entities into our ontology. In the end, the most plausible view is that a single kind of power can have different kinds of effects, some of which involve the instantiation of non-dispositional properties. I proceed as follows. In the first section of this chapter, I show that the philosophical concept of a manifestation is the concept of an effect. In the second section, I argue against the claim that all manifestations involve instantiations of only dispositional properties. In the third section, I argue against the view that manifestations are contributions rather than effects

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,296

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

How to Activate a Power.Jennifer McKitrick - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 123-37.
On the Nature of Dispositions.William Russell Payne - 2003 - Dissertation, University of California, Davis
The Metaphysics of Dispositions.Jennifer Mckitrick - 1999 - Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):529-541.
Unmanifested powers and universals.Ashley Coates - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-22.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-05-19

Downloads
7 (#1,413,139)

6 months
47 (#94,665)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jennifer McKitrick
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Citations of this work

The Composition of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):805-846.
New powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Synthese 199:2671-2700.
Emergent Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1031-1044.
Exercising Abilities.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-15.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Alexander Bird - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1969 - Mineola, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Stephen Mumford.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.

View all 20 references / Add more references