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The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited

Ingthorsson, Rögnvaldur LU (2015) In European Journal of Philosophy 23(3). p.529-541
Abstract
The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird’s and George Molnar’s attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It is true that dispositional monism is popularly assumed to characterise powers as dependent entities, but this is not what the arguments aim to prove. They merely aim to demonstrate that it would be absurd to assume that all... (More)
The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird’s and George Molnar’s attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It is true that dispositional monism is popularly assumed to characterise powers as dependent entities, but this is not what the arguments aim to prove. They merely aim to demonstrate that it would be absurd to assume that all properties are dependent in this way. Finally, it is argued that there is an unresolved tension in Bird’s and Molnar’s account of powers. They characterise them as being for their nature dependent on the manifestations that they are for, and yet ontologically independent of those same manifestations. Until that tension is resolved, their accounts are not equipped to remove the threat of vicious regress. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Metaphysics, Regress of Pure Powers, Molnar, Bird
in
European Journal of Philosophy
volume
23
issue
3
pages
529 - 541
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000362992200009
  • scopus:84942505602
ISSN
0966-8373
DOI
10.1111/j.1468-0378.2012.00548.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5bbc943b-a160-44aa-94a5-7874222fca5f (old id 3616065)
alternative location
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0378.2012.00548.x/abstract
date added to LUP
2013-04-11 11:21:11
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:10:04
@article{5bbc943b-a160-44aa-94a5-7874222fca5f,
  abstract     = {The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird’s and George Molnar’s attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It is true that dispositional monism is popularly assumed to characterise powers as dependent entities, but this is not what the arguments aim to prove. They merely aim to demonstrate that it would be absurd to assume that all properties are dependent in this way. Finally, it is argued that there is an unresolved tension in Bird’s and Molnar’s account of powers. They characterise them as being for their nature dependent on the manifestations that they are for, and yet ontologically independent of those same manifestations. Until that tension is resolved, their accounts are not equipped to remove the threat of vicious regress.},
  author       = {Ingthorsson, Rögnvaldur},
  issn         = {0966-8373},
  keyword      = {Metaphysics,Regress of Pure Powers,Molnar,Bird},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {529--541},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {European Journal of Philosophy},
  title        = {The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0378.2012.00548.x},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2015},
}