more from Alexander Bird

Single Idea 9475

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional]

Full Idea

If a robust iron pot is attached to a bomb with a sensitive detonator. If the pot is struck, the bomb will go off, so they counterfactual 'if the pot were struck it would break' is true, but it is not a fragile pot. This is a 'mimic' of the disposition.

Gist of Idea

A robust pot attached to a sensitive bomb is not fragile, but if struck it will easily break


Alexander Bird (Nature's Metaphysics [2007],

Book Reference

Bird,Alexander: 'Nature's Metaphysics' [OUP 2007], p.29

A Reaction

A very nice example, showing that a true disposition would have to be an internal feature (a power) of the pot itself, not a mere disposition to behave. The problem is these pesky empiricists, who want to reduce it all to what is observable.