Volume 72, Issue 1, January 2006
What Do Powers Do When They Are Not Manifested?
In the present paper, I offer a conceptual argument against the view that all properties are pure powers. I claim that thinking of all properties as pure powers leads to a regress. The regress, I argue, can be solved only if non-powers are admitted. The kernel of my thesis is that any attempt to answer the title question in an informative way will undermine a pure-power view of properties. In particular, I focus my critique on recent arguments in favour of pure powers by the Late George Molnar and Jennifer McKitrick. The lines of defence of the friends of powers converge on what I call 'the ultimate argument for powers', viz., that current physics entails (or supports) the view that the fundamental properties (spin, mass, charge) are ungrounded powers. I take issue with this argument and make a modest suggestion: that the evidence from current physics is inconclusive.