Powerful Qualities and Pure Powers

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Many think that properties are powers. However, whilst some claim that properties are pure powers, others claim that properties are powerful qualities. In this paper, I argue that the canonical formulation of the powerful qualities view (advocated by John Heil, C. B. Martin and others) is no different from the pure powers view. Contrary to appearances, the two positions accept the same view of properties. Thus, the debate between them rests on an illusion. I draw out some consequences of this surprising result for issues over property individuation. Along the way, I argue that all existing objections to the powerful qualities view fail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1423–1440
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number6
Early online date24 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Powerful qualities
  • Pure powers
  • Categoricalism
  • Individuation
  • Properties


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