SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Powerful Objects: For a Safe and Sane Ontology of Modality
(Metaphysik & Ontologie, Englisch)

In contemporary metaphysics the opinion is gaining strength that powers, dispositions, are ontologically respectable properties. As potential for changes, powers thus seem suitable for the explanation of (at least) physical possibility and necessity. ''Modal dispositionalism'', as we may call this position, is thus to be understood as both an actualist and naturalist ontology of modality.

Roughly speaking, what is possible is what something is disposed to manifest. However, a dilemma lies ahead. Possibility is usually understood as a sentential operator - that is to say, to be subject to modalizations are property instances by objects (fact/state of affairs). However, that a property instance is possible does not entail that it exists, so powers cannot be directed to property instances on a relational framework of powers: in fact, all relata of a relation must exist.

It thus seems that either modal dispositionalism is committed to inexistent possibilia (the property instances unmanifested powers are related to), or either it will be unable to countenance at least some de dicto possibilities - those, like the ones with flexible designators, that cannot be translated back to de re possibilities.

I claim that a theory of dispositions in which a power's manifestation is a property-type (a universal) can solve this dilemma by dispelling its second horn; on this proposal, the primary bearers of modal properties are empowered objects rather than abstract state of affairs, or non-actual facts about counterparts; as a consequence, possibility is best understood as a predicate operator, rather than a sentence operator.

Chair: Thorben Petersen
Zeit: 14:00-14:30, 14. September 2013 (Samstag)
Ort: HS 101

Lorenzo Azzano
(Milan, Italien)

Lorenzo Azzano graduated from San Raffaele University (Milan) with a thesis on metaphysics. His primary interest is the theory of dispositions, causation, laws of nature and modality; He is currently working on a dispositional grounding of (at least physical) possibility and necessity. He spent the Trinity Term 2013 at Oxford with the Power Structuralist group of Anna Marmodoro, Corpus Christi College, in order to further develop his proposal. He is currently looking for a PhD program to enroll to.

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