What Tends to Be


This summer I received copies of our new book with Routledge, What Tends to Be. The Philosophy of Dispositional Modality. Besides from looking really cool, this book is the result of many years’ work on developing our theory on tendencies.

A default philosophical assumption is modal dualism, that there are only two types of modality, namely pure possibilities and necessities. This book argues that this misses out on a crucial modal aspect of reality, which is in-between these two and actually the modality that is best known to us. Dispositional tendencies is the modality that gives us real wordly possibilities, or potentialities.

The first two chapters of the book spells out the nature of the dispositional modality of tendencies and show how it differs from other proposed theories on modality. In the rest of the book, we apply the dispositional modality to a range of philosophical issues: chance, causation, conditionals, conditional probability, perception, knowledge, ethics and free will. In these chapters we argue that an in-between modality can help us overcome some philosophical problems created by the assumption of modal dualism.

The most controversial ideas (which have been difficult to get past reviewers during these past years) are found in our co-authored chapters on causation in quantum mechanics and conditional probability. But I hope that an open-minded reader will see that – in the context of the book – these ideas are not as crazy as they might seem when read in isolation from the general theory that we offer.

Routledge offers a preview of the book, including the first chapter, and there is also an online abstract for each chapter.


Table of Contents


Part 1: Modality

1. Theory: Introducing the Dispositional Modality

2. History: Forebears of the Dispositional Modality

Part 2: Metaphysics

3. Chance: Overdisposed

4. Causation: Causation and Quantum Mechanics (with Fredrik Andersen)

Part 3: Logic

5. Conditionals: Carnap and the Anglo-Austrian Conspiracy against Dispositions

6. Conditional Probability: Conditional Probability from an Ontological Point of View (with Johan Arnt Myrstad)

Part 4: Epistemology

7. Perception: What We Tend to See

8. Metascience: What We Tend to Know

Part 5: Ethics

9. Value: Dispositions and Ethics (with Svein Anders Noer Lie)

10. Free Will: Causation is Not Your Enemy.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s