Making sense of powerful qualities

Synthese 198 (9):8347-8363 (2021)
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According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort of alternative. I argue here that this can be done, given a particular conception of both the qualitativity and powerfulness of properties. On this conception, a property is qualitative just in the sense that its essence is fixed independently of any distinct properties, and it is powerful just if its essence grounds its dispositional role.

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Ashley Coates
University of Witwatersrand


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