- ” Pure Powers are not Powerful Qualities”. European Jorunal of Analytic Philosophy
Abstract. There is no consensus on the most adequate conception of the 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 fundamental properties essentially empower things that have them with a distinctive causal profile. On the identity theory, 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. 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. Here I defend an ontologically robust distinction between pure powers and powerful qualities. To accomplish this aim, I show that the collapse between pure powers and powerful qualities can be resisted. I conclude by drawing some positive implications of this result.
- Forthcoming. “Grounding Ontic Structuralism” w/Bianchi, S. (IUSS Pavia). Synthese DOI: 10.1007/s11229-020-03001-7
Abstract. A respectable assessment of priority-based Ontic Structuralism demands an elucidation of its metaphysical backbone. Here we focus on two 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 putative fundamental objects, if these exist. Candidate notions to illuminate (1) and (2) such as supervenience and ontological dependence failed at this task. Our purpose is to show that grounding is the best competitor to articulate (1) and (2), and regiment such theses in a desirable unified way. Our strategy is two-fold. First, we make the case that grounding does better than ontological dependence and supervenience. Second, we show that the distinction between partial and full grounds permits us to respond to an objection raised by Kerry McKenzie against the proposal of interpreting priority-based Ontic Structuralism in the idiom of metaphysical determination. Our conclusion is that priority ontic structuralists have compelling reasons for adopting a grounding-based approach.
- 2020. “Fundamental yet Grounded”. Theoria. 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.
- 2019. “The Identity Theory of Powers Revised”. Erkenntnis. 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.
- “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-causal vs. metaphysical explanation
- A paper on laws of ground and Humeanism about laws
- A paper on dual aspect views of fundamental properties
- A paper on grounding and equifundamentality