Stephen French: "Doing Away With Dispositions"

Stephen French (Leeds): "Doing Away With Dispositions: Towards a Law-Based Account of Modality in Science". Listen to the talk here.

Abstract

Recent defences of dispositionalism and powers based accounts have appealed to the way properties such as charge and spin are treated in physics. However, I shall argue that on closer analysis, modern physics does not supply the level of support that is typically adduced. Adjusting these accounts to bring them more into line with the way physics treats such properties takes them closer to certain structuralist views and I shall explore the - sometimes wafer thin - differences between these alternative approaches to properties. In conclusion I shall suggest that adopting an appropriate stance towards 'reading' theories in physics does away with dispositions and powers as seated in fundamental objects in favour of modally informed structure.