What Fundamental Properties Suffice to Account for the Manifest World? Powerful Structure

Sharon Ford

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (not CDU)

Abstract

This Thesis engages with contemporary philosophical controversies about the nature of dispositional properties or powers and the relationship they have to their non-dispositional counterparts. The focus concerns fundamentality. In particular, I seek to answer the question, ‘What fundamental properties suffice to account for the manifest world?’ The answer I defend is that fundamental categorical properties need not be invoked in order to derive a viable explanation for the manifest world. My stance is a field-theoretic view which describes the world as a single system comprised of pure power, and involves the further contention that ‘pure power’ should not be interpreted as ‘purely dispositional’, if dispositionality means potentiality, possibility or otherwise unmanifested power or ability bestowed upon some bearer. The theoretical positions examined include David Armstrong’s Categoricalism, Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties, Brian Ellis’s New Essentialism, Ullin Place’s Conceptualism, Charles Martin’s and John Heil’s Identity Theory of Properties and Rom Harré’s Theory of Causal Powers. The central concern of this Thesis is to examine reasons for holding a pure-power theory, and to defend such a stance. This involves two tasks. The first requires explaining what plays the substance role in a pure-power world. This Thesis argues that fundamental power, although not categorical, can be considered ontologically-robust and thus able to fulfil the substance role. A second task—answering the challenge put forward by Richard Swinburne and thereafter replicated in various neo-Swinburne arguments—concerns how the manifestly qualitative world can be explained starting from a pure-power base. The Light-like Network Account is put forward in an attempt to show how the manifest world can be derived from fundamental pure power.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Queensland
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Dowe, Phil, Supervisor, External person
Award date18 Aug 2010
Place of PublicationBrisbane
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What Fundamental Properties Suffice to Account for the Manifest World? Powerful Structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this