- “The Identity Theory of Powers Revised”. Erkenntnis. Forthcoming DOI: 10.1007/s10670-019-00122-5
Abstract. Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a contradiction objection that undermines its merits. We should therefore consider an alternative version that does not embrace the identity claim. My aim is to show that we can enjoy the benefits of the Identity Theory without embracing the identity between the dispositional and the qualitative. I shall argue that a distinction between two senses of dispositionality and qualitativity serves the purpose. I will then discuss three readings of the identity claim that can be formulated in light of such a distinction. I will conclude that even if the identity were to fail in any of the suggested readings, it would be possible to hold an account of fundamental powerful qualities.
- “Fundamental yet Grounded”. Theoria. Forthcoming DOI: 10.1111/theo.12293
Abstract. Grounding is claimed to offer a promising characterization of the fundamental as that which is ungrounded. Detractors of this view argue that there can be fundamental and yet mutually grounded entities. Such a possibility undermines the definition of the fundamental as the ungrounded. I aim to show, however, that the possibility of fundamental mutually grounded entities does not force us to renounce the prospects of characterizing fundamentality in terms of grounding. To accomplish this aim, I defend a grounding-based view that accommodates fundamental mutually grounded entities straightforwardly. My definition of fundamentality is similar to, but importantly different from, one that Karen Bennett (2017) discusses. I conclude by resisting two objections raised by Jessica Wilson (2019) against the Bennettian framework that also target the proposed view.
- “Fundamental yet Ontologically Dependent”
Abstract. The notion of fundamentality is supposed to play an important role in philosophical inquiry and scientific theorising. Yet there is no consensus on how to formulate it in precise terms. According to a promising view, fundamentality is a form of ontological independence. This view has the merit of capturing a natural connection between fundamentality and ontological dependence. However, it has been recently argued that it is possible that there are fundamental and yet ontologically dependent entities; therefore, we should not characterise the fundamental in terms of ontological independence. My aim is to show that such a possibility does not threaten a conception of fundamentality as a form of ontological independence. I illustrate this claim by providing a definition of equifundamentality and showing that fundamental and yet ontologically dependent entities can be treated as equifundamental.
- “Divide et Impera: Pure Powers are not Powerful qualities”
Abstract. Fundamental properties enjoy a privileged theoretical status: they suffice to characterise all things completely and provide a minimal basis on which all the non-fundamental properties supervene. Yet there is no consensus on the most adequate conception of fundamental properties of our world. The pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities claim to be promising alternatives to categoricalism, the view that all fundamental properties essentially contribute to the qualitative make-up of things that have them. The pure powers view holds that all fundamental properties essentially dispose things that have them to bring about characteristic effects in characteristic circumstances. On the identity theory, all fundamental properties are dispositional as well as qualitative, or powerful qualities. Despite the manifest difference, Taylor (2018) argues that pure powers and powerful qualities collapse into the same ontology of properties. If this collapse objection were sound, the debate between the pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities would be illusory: these views could claim the same advantages and would suffer the same problems. My aim is to defend an ontologically robust distinction between pure powers and powerful qualities. To accomplish this aim, I show that Taylor’s collapse between pure powers and powerful qualities can be resisted. I conclude by drawing some positive implications of resisting the collapse objection. Among these, we pave the way to novel forms of dispositionalism.
- “Grounding Ontic Structuralism”
Abstract. A respectable assessment of Ontic Structuralism demands an elucidation of its metaphysical backbone. Here we focus on two ontic structuralist theses that stand in need of clarification: (1) the Fundamentality Thesis states that structures are fundamental, and (2) the Priority Thesis states that these structures are prior to objects. Candidate notions to elucidate (1) and (2) such as supervenience and ontological dependence failed at this task. Our purpose is to show that grounding is the best candidate to capture and regiment (1) and (2). We do so by formulating novel link principles between grounding, fundamentality, and priority.
- “Moderate Dispositional Structuralism”
Dispositionalism holds that at least some fundamental physical properties are ungrounded dispositional ones. Unfortunately, the very scientific practice that dispositionalists invoke to support their view undermines the dispositional thesis: putative fundamental properties such as mass, charge, and spin appear to be grounded in symmetry structures. Can the dispositionalist hold that fundamental symmetry structures are dispositional? Livanios (2019) defends a negative answer: symmetry structures do not satisfy the truthmaking principle of dispositionality. By contrast, I offer a positive answer. Here I argue that if dispositionalists adopt an identity-based criterion of dispositionality, they can endorse what I shall call moderate dispositional structuralism: the view that the identity of fundamental symmetry structures is partially but not exhaustively fixed by their dispositional character. The purpose of this paper is to articulate moderate dispositional structuralism and its merits. To defend the plausibility of this view, I compare it with its radical counterpart: the view that the identity of symmetry structures is fully or wholly fixed by their dispositionality.
- The Fundamentality of Fundamental Powers
Dispositional essentialism is the view that all or many fundamental properties of our world are essentially dispositional, or powers. The literature on how to elucidate the dispositionality of powers is abundant. In contrast, the question of how to understand the fundamentality of fundamental powers has received scarce interest. This lacuna is problematic for there are conflicting views on how to conceptualise the fundamental. Therefore, the fundamentality of powers stands in need of a clarification. There are three main conceptions of the fundamental, namely as that which is: (i) metaphysically independent; or (ii) belonging to a complete minimal basis; or (iii) perfectly natural. Here I present and discuss (i) – (iii) from the viewpoint of dispositional essentialism. I show that (i) is incompatible with the metaphysics of powers and (ii) – (iii) have more drawbacks than merits. Therefore, the dispositional essentialist should favour a different approach. To this end, I defend a primitivist conception of the absolute fundamentality of powers, which has the virtues of (i) – (iii) but none of the vices. However, I argue that a primitivist approach to the absolute fundamentality of powers is compatible with a deflationist view of relative fundamentality, which allows the dispositional essentialist to fix and accommodate priority relations among powers.
- A paper on non-symmetric grounding and quantum entanglement
- A paper on the empirical (in)adequacy of grounding orthodoxy
- A paper on grounding evidentialism
- A co-authored paper on power hylomorphism
- A paper on laws of metaphysics