Barbara Vetter: "A Plenitude of Powers"

 Foto BV

Barbara Vetter (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): "A Plenitude of Powers". Listen to the talk here. Handout here.

Abstract:  I defend (strong) dispositionalism against a challenge recently presented by David Yates. Strong dispositionalism is the view that metaphysical modality is a matter solely of the dispositional properties there are. In a forthcoming paper, Yates argues that strong dispositionalism fails the test of formal adequacy: it does not get the logic of modality right, roughly because necessities and impossibilities are on a par with regard to dispositions. I argue the strong dispositionalist can respond to the challenge by taking a closer look at our best extant accounts of the degrees of dispositions. Those accounts make it very natural to say that, when an object is necessarily always F (but certainly not when it is impossible for an object to be F), the object is maximally disposed to F. Finally, I consider the question why such disposition ascriptions nevertheless seem very odd, perhaps even infelicitous, and I suggest that an appeal to pragmatic considerations can help us answer that question.