Single Idea 7026

[catalogued under 14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science]

Full Idea

The sciences are sometimes said to be in the business of identifying and classifying powers; the mass of an electron, its spin and charge, could be regarded as powers possessed by the electron; science is silent on an electron's qualities.

Gist of Idea

Science is sometimes said to classify powers, neglecting qualities


John Heil (From an Ontological Point of View [2003], 11.2)

Book Reference

Heil,John: 'From an Ontological Point of View' [OUP 2005], p.114

A Reaction

Heil raises the possibility that qualities are real, despite the silence of science; he wants colour to be a real quality. I like the simpler version of science. Qualities are the mental effects of powers; there exist substances, powers and effects.