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dispositional property

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics, philosophy of science Properties of material things have, since Locke , been traditionally divided into primary and secondary qualities. Recent philosophers further divide primary qualities into substantial and dispositional properties. A dispositional property is the capacity of an object to affect or to be affected by other things. An active capacity of a thing to affect others is also called a power . For instance, falling down is a dispositional property of a thing that has weight, and being poisonous is a dispositional property of arsenic. Dispositional properties are analyzable into nothing but dispositions, and hence they can be distinguished from substantial properties, which are independent particulars. Substantial properties might provide a basis for dispositional properties, but some philosophers hold that all properties are dispositional. “It is a dispositional property of a paper that it will burn.” Joske, Material Objects ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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