Potential problems? Some issues with Vetter's potentiality account of modality

Philosophical Inquiry 8 (1):167-184 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required. As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required.

Author's Profile

Nathan Wildman
Tilburg University

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-08-25

Downloads
313 (#46,329)

6 months
91 (#38,743)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?