Single Idea 8573

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers]

Full Idea

Properties do nothing to capture the causal powers of things. Almost all properties are causally irrelevant, and there is nothing to make the relevant ones stand out from the crowd.

Gist of Idea

Most properties are causally irrelevant, and we can't spot the relevant ones.


David Lewis (New work for a theory of universals [1983], 'Un and Prop')

Book Reference

'Properties', ed/tr. Mellor,D.H. /Oliver,A [OUP 1997], p.192

A Reaction

Shoemaker, who endorses a causal account of properties, has a go at this problem in Idea 8557. The property of being massive is more likely to be causal than existing fifty years after D-Day. Lewis attempts later to address the problem.

Related Idea

Idea 8557 To ascertain genuine properties, examine the object directly [Shoemaker]