structure for 'Modes of Existence'    |     alphabetical list of themes    |     expand these ideas

8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers

[criticisms of the idea that there are 'powers' in reality]

18 ideas
Locke explains powers, but effectively eliminates them with his talk of internal structure [Alexander,P on Locke]
We cannot form an idea of a 'power', and the word is without meaning [Hume]
We have no idea of powers, because we have no impressions of them [Hume]
The distinction between a power and its exercise is entirely frivolous [Hume]
Kant claims causal powers are relational rather than intrinsic [Bayne on Kant]
No physical scientist now believes in an occult force-exerting agency [Ryle]
Propensities are part of a situation, not part of the objects [Popper]
Powers must result in some non-powers, or there would only be potential without result [Armstrong]
How does the power of gravity know the distance it acts over? [Armstrong]
Dispositions exist, but their truth-makers are actual or categorical properties [Armstrong]
Actualism means that ontology cannot contain what is merely physically possible [Armstrong]
If everything is powers there is a vicious regress, as powers are defined by more powers [Armstrong]
Most properties are causally irrelevant, and we can't spot the relevant ones. [Lewis]
If every event has a cause, it is easy to invent a power to explain each case [Mumford]
Traditional powers initiate change, but are mysterious between those changes [Mumford]
Categorical eliminativists say there are no dispositions, just categorical states or mechanisms [Mumford]
Might dispositions be reduced to normativity, or to intentionality? [Mumford/Anjum]
How can spatiotemporal relations be understood in dispositional terms? [Vetter]