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Individual objects have potentials: paper has the potential to burn, an acorn has the potential to turn into a tree, some people have the potential to run a mile in less than four minutes. Barbara Vetter provides a systematic investigation into the metaphysics of such potentials, and an account of metaphysical modality based on them.
In contemporary philosophy, potentials have been recognized mostly in the form of so-called dispositions: solubility, fragility, and so on. Vetter takes dispositions as her starting point, but argues for and develops a more comprehensive conception of potentiality. She shows how, with this more comprehensive conception, an account of metaphysical modality can be given that meets three crucial requirements: (1) Extensional correctness: providing the right truth-values for statements of possibility and necessity; (2) formal adequacy: providing the right logic for metaphysical modality; and (3) semantic utility: providing a semantics that links ordinary modal language to the metaphysics of modality.
The resulting view of modality is a version of dispositionalism about modality: it takes modality to be a matter of the dispositions of individual objects (and, crucially, not of possible worlds). This approach has a long philosophical tradition going back to Aristotle, but has been largely neglected in contemporary philosophy. In recent years, it has become a live option again due to the rise of anti-Humean, powers-based metaphysics. The aim of Potentiality and Possibility is to develop the dispositionalist view in a way that takes account of contemporary developments in metaphysics, logic, and semantics.
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Barbara Vetter, Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
Barbara Vetter has a BPhil and a DPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford and is now a junior professor for theoretical philosophy at Humboldt-University, Berlin.
"The book is arguably the first monograph primarily devoted to articulating in detail a dispositionalist account of modality...Potentiality makes a very powerful, detailed, and comprehensive case for the author's view of modality and it is an extremely valuable contribution to the debate about the metaphysics of modality--one that significantly advances that debate. Potentiality is a must-read for anyone who is seriously interested in the metaphysics of modality." -- Mind
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Book Description OUP Oxford 2015-02-12, Oxford, 2015. hardback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 9780198714316
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0198714319
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Book Description Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2015. 348p. Hardback. Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs. I believe that Potentiality is a very important book that should be read by anyone who is interested in the metaphysics of modality in general and in dispositionalist approaches to modality in particular. Gabriele Contessa, Mind |a 15/02/2017 (Publisher's information). Condition: New Print on Demand. Printed on Demand. Seller Inventory # 43006
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