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The Modal Limits of Dispositionalism

Noûs 49 (3):454-469 (2015)

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  1. Counterpossibles for Dispositionalists.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2681-2700.
    Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...)
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  • The World is a Necessary Being.Chad Vance - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-14.
    A standard conception of metaphysical modality accepts that (i) Some de re modal claims are true, (ii) These should be understood in terms of a possible worlds semantics, and (iii) There is trans-world identity. For instance, it seems true that Humphrey could have won the election. In possible worlds speak, we say that there exists a possible world where Humphrey wins the election. Furthermore (given trans-world identity), had that possibility been actualized instead of this one, Humphrey—our Humphrey, the very same (...)
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  • I—Fundamental Powers, Evolved Powers, and Mental Powers.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):247-275.
    Powers have in recent years become a central component of many philosophers’ ontology of properties. While I have argued that powers exist at the fundamental level of properties, many other theorists of powers hold that there are also non-fundamental powers. In this paper I articulate my reasons for being sceptical about the existing reasons for holding that there are non-fundamental powers. However, I also want to promote a different argument for the existence of a certain class of non-fundamental powers: properties (...)
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  • The Nature of Necessity.Brian Leftow - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):359-383.
    I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
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  • The Space of Possibilities of Dispositional Essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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  • A Plenitude of Powers.Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Dispositionalism about modality is the view that metaphysical modality is a matter of the dispositions possessed by actual objects. In a recent paper, David Yates has raised an important worry about the formal adequacy of dispositionalism. This paper responds to Yates’s worry by developing a reply that Yates discusses briefly but dismisses as ad hoc: an appeal to a ’plenitude of powers’ including such powers as the necessarily always manifested power for \ to be 4. I argue that the reply (...)
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  • Modal Semantics Without Worlds.Craig Warmke - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):702-715.
    Over the last half century, possible worlds have bled into almost every area of philosophy. In the metaphysics of modality, for example, philosophers have used possible worlds almost exclusively to illuminate discourse about metaphysical necessity and possibility. But recently, some have grown dissatisfied with possible worlds. Why are horses necessarily mammals? Because the property of being a horse bears a special relationship to the property of being a mammal, they say. Not because every horse is a mammal in every possible (...)
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