Substances, Sociological Formations & Categorical Properties

I’m starting to think that there is a relationship between a commitment to the existence of entities with form (substances or sociological substance-analogues) and holding Brian Ellis’ so-called “mixed view” of properties, according to which some properties of things are powers, but others are not.   I think I might think that if you have Aristotelian-style substances, you can’t get away from categorical properties.  This is still in the hunch/groping-for stage, in my mind, which is why I’m not spelling it out.

I think that it might be easier to see why it’s so, though (if it is so), via reflection upon the nature of sociological formations.  If anyone reading this really knows their analytic metaphysics and really knows Capital, or otherwise some Durkheim, please, please let’s hear from you!

I already thought at least part of this from the other direction.  That is, I already thought that Brian’s recent move to reduce substances to a species of what he calls process kind or dynamic universal (where such kinds are grounded powers), would make it harder for him to continue to defend categorical properties.

I think too that one will also be brought back to categorical properties if one thinks that it is the bearer of powers that does the doing, and not the powers themselves.  This would be consistent with the governing insight (if it is one), since the contrary view, i.e., that it is the powers themselves that do the doing, inclines its proponent to think that everything is a power or bundle of powers, which is once again to dissolve substances into activity.  Certainly, I think, it helps, in thinking about pandispositionalism, to have the unit of analysis be the powerful things, not the powers thereof.

This entry was posted in About powers, Contemporary analytic metaphysics, Metaphysics & social theory, Questions, thoughts, etc.. Bookmark the permalink.

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