more from Stephen Mumford

Single Idea 14314

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers]

Full Idea

The realist says that disposition ascriptions are ascriptions of real powers. This leaves unanswered the question, 'power to do what?' The problem of background conditions means that the realist cannot say what it is that a power is a power to do.

Gist of Idea

If dispositions are powers, background conditions makes it hard to say what they do


Stephen Mumford (Dispositions [1998], 04.9)

Book Reference

Mumford,Stephen: 'Dispositions' [OUP 1998], p.88

A Reaction

It is hard to say what a disposition will do, under any other account of dispositions. I would take a power to be defined by a 'modal profile', rather than an actual account of what it will lead to.