more from Stephen Mumford

Single Idea 14322

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence]

Full Idea

If fragile means nothing more than 'breaks when dropped', then it is no explanation of why something breaks when dropped.

Gist of Idea

If fragile just means 'breaks when dropped', it won't explain a breakage


Stephen Mumford (Dispositions [1998], 06.5)

Book Reference

Mumford,Stephen: 'Dispositions' [OUP 1998], p.134

A Reaction

His point is that you have to unpack the notion of fragile, which presumably cites underlying mechanisms. This is the 'virtus dormitiva' problem - but that explanation of opium's dormitive powers is not entirely stupid.