The Aristotelian Society

The Aristotelian Society

est. 1880

Symposium VI

Fundamental Powers

Chaired by Stephen Mumford

Alexander Bird | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Oxford

Fundamental Powers, Evolved Powers, and Mental Powers

Alexander Bird (KCL)

Abstract

Powers have in recent years become a central component of many philoso- phers’ ontology of properties. While I have argued that powers exist at the fundamental level of properties, many other theorists of powers hold that there are also non-fundamental powers. In this paper I articulate my reasons for being sceptical about the existing reasons for holding that there are non-fundamental powers. However, I also want to promote a different argument for the existence of a certain class of non-fundamental powers: properties which have natural selection to thank for their existence and nature. Such properties will include functional properties of organisms, and so may also include their mental properties.

Biography

Alexander Bird is Peter Sowerby Professor of Philosophy and Medicine at King’s College London, having previously been professor of philosophy at the University of Bristol.  His published books are Philosophy of Science (1998), Thomas Kuhn (2000), and Nature’s Metaphysics (2007).  His current project Knowing Science, Knowing Medicine aims to bring insights from general epistemology to bear on the philosophy of science and medicine.   

Barbara Vetter | Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | University of Oxford

Evolved Powers, Artefact Powers, and Dispositional Explanations

Barbara Vetter (Freie Universität Berlin)

Abstract

Alexander Bird (2018) puts forward a modest version of anti-Humeanism about the non-fundamental, by providing an argument for the existence of a certain select class of non-fundamental but sparse dispositions: those that have an evolutionary function. I argue that his argument over-generates, so much so that the sparse–abundant distinction, and with it the tenet of his anti-Humean view, becomes obsolete. I suggest an alternative way of understanding anti-Humeanism in the non-fundamental realm, one which is not concerned with the existence of sparse properties but with explanatory relations.

Biography

Barbara Vetter is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin. She has previously taught at Humboldt-Universität Berlin and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen, and holds a BPhil and a DPhil from Oxford University. Barbara Vetter is the author of Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality (OUP 2015), co-editor of Dispositionen: Texte aus der zeitgenössischen Debatte (with Stephan Schmid, Suhrkamp 2014) and has published various articles on dispositions, modality, abilities, and related issues in metaphysics, semantics, and philosophy of science. Most of her work focusses on developing and defending a disposition-based approach to modality.


further info

future joint sessions

LXXXVXIII
2019 joint session:
Durham

july 2019

LXXXVXiX
2020 joint session:
Kent

july 2020

LXXXVXX
2021 joint session:
Hertfordshire

july 2021





supplementary volume




The inaugural address and symposia for the Joint Session are published in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, which is published digitally and in hardcover every June. The Supplementary Volume is sent to subscribing members of the Society in categories 4 and 5.

Members in other categories can purchase the hardcover Supplementary Volume from the Online Shop. Volumes will also be available at the registration desk during the conference.

Subscriptions to the Supplementary Volume also includes online access via Wiley Online Library (please note that one-off purchases of the hardcover volume do not include membership or online access).

The 2018 Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association | Cardiff University

past conferences

LXXXVX
2017 joint session:
Edinburgh

14 - 16 july 2017

LXXXVX
2016 joint session:
cardiff

8 - 10 july 2016

LXXXVIX
2015 joint session:
warwick

10 - 12 july 2015





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