The Identity Theory of Powers Revised

Erkenntnis (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a contradiction objection that undermines its merits. We should therefore consider an alternative version that does not embrace the identity claim. My aim is to show that we can enjoy the benefits of the Identity Theory without embracing the identity between the dispositional and the qualitative. I shall argue that a distinction between two senses of dispositionality and qualitativity serves the purpose. I will then discuss three readings of the identity claim that can be formulated in light of such a distinction. I will conclude that even if the identity were to fail in any of the suggested readings, it would be possible to hold an account of fundamental powerful qualities.
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Archival date: 2019-03-08
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2019-03-08

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