Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):71 - 90 (2011)

Authors
Neil E. Williams
State University of New York, Buffalo
Abstract
Central to the debate between Humean and anti-Humean metaphysics is the question of whether dispositions can exist in the absence of categorical properties that ground them (that is, where the causal burden is shifted on to categorical properties on which the dispositions would therefore supervene). Dispositional essentialists claim that they can; categoricalists reject the possibility of such ?baseless? dispositions, requiring that all dispositions must ultimately have categorical bases. One popular argument, recently dubbed the ?Argument from Science?, has appeared in one or another form over much of the last century and purports to win the day for the dispositional essentialist. Taking its cue from physical theory, the Argument from Science treats the exclusively dispositional characterizations of the fundamental particles one finds in physical theory as providing a key premise in what has been called a ?decisive? argument for baseless dispositions. Despite sharing the intuition that dispositions can be baseless, I argue that the force and significance of the Argument from Science have been greatly overestimated: no version of the argument is close to decisive, and only one version succeeds in scoring points against the categoricalist. Not only is physical theory more ontologically innocent than defenders of baseless dispositions seem to appreciate, most versions of the Argument from Science neglect important ways that dispositions could be grounded by categorical properties
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00048400903527766
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,231
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
From an Ontological Point of View.John Heil - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

View all 50 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Question of Realism for Powers.Lorenzo Azzano - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):329-354.
Dispositions.Michael Fara - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dispositions.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ungrounded Dispositions in Quantum Mechanics.Tomasz Bigaj - 2012 - Foundations of Science 17 (3):205-221.
The Ontology of Pure Dispositions.William A. Bauer - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Are Physical Properties Dispositions?Edward Wilson Averill - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (1):118-132.
Unfinkable Dispositions.Toby Handfield - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):297 - 308.
The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism.David Yates - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
Dispositions in Physics.Andreas Hüttemann - 2009 - In Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Debating Dispositions. De Gruyter. pp. 221-237.
Causation, Laws and Dispositions.Andreas Hüttemann - 2007 - In Max Kistler & Bruno Gnassounou (eds.), Dispositions and Causal Powers. Ashgate.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-01-02

Total views
142 ( #83,388 of 2,518,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,577 of 2,518,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes