A Defence of Megaran Actualism

19 November 2020, 2.00 PM - 19 November 2020, 3.30 PM

Dr Toby Friend, University of Bristol

Online

Dispositionalism is the view that there exist 'powers'; properties which essentially confer dispositions on their bearers. It has been a central platitude of dispositionalism that powers' bearers need not manifest their dispositions. Indeed Aristotle himself spoke of the `buffoonery' of thinking otherwise.

Nevertheless, the Megaran Actualist denies the platitude: a power's bearer must always be manifesting the disposition conferred as long as it has that power. I build a case for a particular variant of this position I call `Megaran Variable Actualism', which takes powers (e.g.~fragility) to confer dispositions to manifest a variable property having within its range both the paradigm manifestation (e.g.~breaking) and its state of apparent non-manifestation (e.g.~remaining intact).

I show how such a position is well-motivated by considering the powers posited in scientific contexts and both avoids three significant problems for the traditional dispositionalist view and the three main objections to more naive interpretations of Megaran Actualism.

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