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  1. Dispositions and Ethics.Rani Lill Anjum, Svein Anders Noer Lie & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    What is the connection between dispositions and ethics? Some might think very little and those who are interested in dispositions tend to be metaphysicians whose interests are far from value. However, we argue in this paper that dispositions and dispositionality are central to ethics, indeed a precondition. Ethics rests on a number of notions that are either dispositional in nature or involve real dispositions or powers at work. We argue for a dispositional account of value that offers an alternative to (...)
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  2. Conditional Probability From an Ontological Point of View.Rani Lill Anjum, Johan Arnt Myrstad & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    This paper argues that the technical notion of conditional probability, as given by the ratio analysis, is unsuitable for dealing with our pretheoretical and intuitive understanding of both conditionality and probability. This is an ontological account of conditionals that include an irreducible dispositional connection between the antecedent and consequent conditions and where the conditional has to be treated as an indivisible whole rather than compositional. The relevant type of conditionality is found in some well-defined group of conditional statements. As an (...)
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  3. Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  4. On Causation: With Special Reference to Hume.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    Hume was correct in his critique of causation as understood by the New Science, a critique deadly to both causal and scientific realism. Getting beyond Hume's critique of causation requires that we call into question the New Science's understanding of causation and replace it with a Neo-Aristotelian account of causal processes. In this paper, I try to point the way to such an account.
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  5. Free Will and Abilities to Act.Randolph Clarke - forthcoming - In Streit um die Freiheit: Philosophische und theologische Beiträge. Paderborn: Schoeningh/Brill.
    This paper examines the view of abilities to act advanced by Kadri Vihvelin in Causes, Laws, and Free Will. Vihvelin argues that (i) abilities of an important kind are “structurally” like dispositions such as fragility; (ii) ascriptions of dispositions can be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals; (iii) ascriptions of abilities of the kind in question can be analyzed similarly; and (iv) we have the free will we think we have by having abilities of this kind and being in circumstances (...)
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  6. Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - forthcoming - Dialectica.
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  7. Formal Causes for Powers Theorists.Giacomo Giannini & Stephen Mumford - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 87-106.
    In this paper we examine whether and how powers ontologies can back formal causation. We attempt to answer three questions: i) what is formal causation; ii) whether we need formal causation, and iii) whether formal causation need powers and whether it can be grounded in powers. We take formal causal explanations to be explanations in which something's essence features prominently in the explanans. Three kinds of essential explanations are distinguished: constitutive, consequential, and those singling out something's propria. This last kind (...)
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  8. Causation and Ontic Indeterminacy.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (1):43-61.
    In this article, I first introduce an Indian Madhyamaka Buddhist critique of causality and discuss critically a contemporary Humean interpretation of the critique. After presenting a Chinese Madhyamaka interpretation, I resort to an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which draws on Chinese Madhyamaka thought together with Jessica Wilson’s account of metaphysical indeterminacy, to show that the conception is well equipped to unravel two puzzling issues that arise from the critique. I suggest that a world that consists of things (...)
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  9. No Work for a Theory of Epistemic Dispositions.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2021 - Synthese 198 (4):3477-3498.
    Externalists about epistemic justification have long emphasized the connection between truth and justification, with this coupling finding explicit expression in process reliabilism. Process reliabilism, however, faces a number of severe difficulties, leading disenchanted process reliabilists to find a new theoretical home. The conceptual flag under which such epistemologists have preferred to gather is that of dispositions. Just as reliabilism is determined by the frequency of a particular outcome, making it possible to characterize justification in terms of a particular relationship to (...)
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  10. Contemporary Hylomorphisms: On the Matter of Form.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy Today 2 (2):113-144.
    As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...)
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  11. New Powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2020 - Synthese (ST: New Foundations for Disposit):1-30.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  12. Necessitarianism and Dispositions.Simone Gozzano - 2020 - Metaphysica (1):1-23.
    In this paper, I argue in favor of necessitarianism, the view that dispositions, when stimulated, necessitate their manifestations. After introducing and clarifying what necessitarianism does and does not amount to, I provide reasons to support the view that dispositions once stimulated necessitate their manifestations according to the stimulating conditions and the relevant properties at stake. In this framework, I will propose a principle of causal relevance and some conditions for the possibility of interference that allow us to avoid the use (...)
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  13. Ontological and Methodological Virtues of Unification.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2020 - Journal of Physics: Conference Series 1466 (012006).
    The widespread mistrust of metaphysics-the main obstacle to the unification of physics and philosophy-is based on the myth that metaphysical claims cannot be falsified or verified, because they are supposedly true independently of empirical knowledge. This is not true of metaphysical naturalism, whose approach is to critically reflect on the theories and findings of all the empirical disciplines and abstract from them a theory about such general features of reality that no single empirical discipline can be the authority on. Causation (...)
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  14. Powers, Dispositions and Laws of Nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  15. Quiddytyzm i quidditas w metafizyce analitycznej.Karol Lenart - 2020 - Filozofia Nauki 28 (1):61-84.
    The paper is a survey of contemporary quidditism, understood as two interrelated metaphysicalpositions — recombinatorial quidditism, which is an account of the nature of possibilities, andindividuation quidditism, which is concerned with the problem of how to individuate properties.I have three aims: to examine the commitments and consequences of both views, to investigatethe relationships between them, and to sketch the logic of the dispute between structuralism andquidditism. I explain how these views relate to Ramseyan humility, according to which we cannotknow the (...)
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  16. Perceiving Potentiality: A Metaphysics for Affordances.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1177-1191.
    According to ecological psychology, animals perceive not just the qualities of things in their environment, but their affordances: in James Gibson’s words, ’what things furnish, for good or ill’. I propose a metaphysics for affordances that fits into a contemporary anti-Humean metaphysics of powers or potentialities. The goal is to connect two debates, one in the philosophy of perception and one in metaphysics, that stand to gain much from each other.
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  17. Potential Problems? Some Issues with Vetter's Potentiality Account of Modality.Nathan Wildman - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiry 8 (1):167-184.
    As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation (...)
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  18. The Powers View of Properties, Fundamental Ontology, and Williams’s Arguments for Static Dispositions.Joseph Baltimore - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):437-453.
    This paper examines the need for static dispositions within the basic ontology of the powers view of properties. To lend some focus, Neil Williams’s well developed case for static dispositions is considered. While his arguments are not necessarily intended to address fundamental ontology, they still provide a useful starting point, a springboard for diving into the deeper metaphysical waters of the dispositionalist approach. Within that ontological context, this paper contends that Williams’s arguments fail to establish the need to posit static (...)
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  19. Expanding the Vector Model for Dispositionalist Approaches to Causation.Joseph Baltimore - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5083-5098.
    Neuron diagrams are heavily employed in academic discussions of causation. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum, however, offer an alternative approach employing vector diagrams, which this paper attempts to develop further. I identify three ways in which dispositionalists have taken the activities of powers to be related: stimulation, mutual manifestation, and contribution combination. While Mumford and Anjum do provide resources for representing contribution combination, which might be sufficient for their particular brand of dispositionalism, I argue that those resources are not (...)
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  20. The Identity Theory of Powers Revised.Joaquim Giannotti - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (3):603-621.
    Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a (...)
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  21. The Metaphysics of Science and Aim-Oriented Empiricism: A Revolution for Science and Philosophy.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
    This book gives an account of work that I have done over a period of decades that sets out to solve two fundamental problems of philosophy: the mind-body problem and the problem of induction. Remarkably, these revolutionary contributions to philosophy turn out to have dramatic implications for a wide range of issues outside philosophy itself, most notably for the capacity of humanity to resolve current grave global problems and make progress towards a better, wiser world. A key element of the (...)
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  22. Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo.Christopher J. Austin & Laura Nuño de la Rosa - 2018 - In Laura Nuño de la Rosa & G. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    In identifying intrinsic molecular chance and extrinsic adaptive pressures as the only causally relevant factors in the process of evolution, the theoretical perspective of the Modern Synthesis had a major impact on the perceived tenability of an ontology of dispositional properties. However, since the late 1970s, an increasing number of evolutionary biologists have challenged the descriptive and explanatory adequacy of this “chance alone, extrinsic only” understanding of evolutionary change. Because morphological studies of homology, convergence, and teratology have revealed a space (...)
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  23. Potentiality in Biology.Andreas Hüttemann & Marie I. Kaiser - 2018 - In K. Engelhardt & M. Quante (eds.), Handbook of Potentiality. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 401-428.
    We take the potentialities that are studied in the biological sciences (e.g., totipotency) to be an important subtype of biological dispositions. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, we want to provide a detailed understanding of what biological dispositions are. We claim that two features are essential for dispositions in biology: the importance of the manifestation process and the diversity of conditions that need to be satisfied for the disposition to be manifest. Second, we demonstrate that the concept of (...)
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  24. Lewis’ Conditional Analysis of Dispositions Revisited and Revised.Markus Schlosser - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):241-253.
    The conditional analysis of dispositions is widely rejected, mainly due to counterexamples in which dispositions are either “finkish” or “masked.” David Lewis proposed a reformed conditional analysis. This view avoids the problem of finkish dispositions, but it fails to solve the problem of masking. I will propose a reformulation of Lewis’ analysis, and I will argue that this reformulation can easily be modified so that it avoids the problem of masking. In the final section, I will address the challenge that (...)
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  25. A Plenitude of Powers.Barbara Vetter - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 6):1365-1385.
    Dispositionalism about modality is the view that metaphysical modality is a matter of the dispositions possessed by actual objects. In a recent paper, David Yates has raised an important worry about the formal adequacy of dispositionalism. This paper responds to Yates’s worry by developing a reply that Yates discusses briefly but dismisses as ad hoc: an appeal to a ’plenitude of powers’ including such powers as the necessarily always manifested power for 2+2\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} (...)
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  26. Dispositions: An Integrational Analysis.Daihyun Chung - 2017 - Diogenes:59-70.
    Whereas the Humean accounts of causality in terms of contiguity, temporal priority, constant conjunction, and contingency face difficulties of one sort, the dispositional explanations of causality...
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  27. Reasons, Dispositions, and Value.Aaron P. Elliott - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    In this paper, I will discuss an objection to Buck-Passing accounts of value, such as Reasons Fundamentalism. Buck-Passing views take value to be derivative of or reducible to reasons. The objection is that since there can be value in possible worlds in which there are no reasons, value must not be ontologically derivative of reasons. Thus, BP is false. In this paper, I show that by accepting a dispositionalist revision, BP can allow such worlds while maintaining that reasons are interestingly (...)
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  28. Evidence Based or Person Centered? An Ontological Debate.Rani Lill Anjum - 2016 - European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare 4 (2):421-429.
    Evidence based medicine (EBM) is under critical debate, and person centered healthcare (PCH) has been proposed as an improvement. But is PCH offered as a supplement or as a replacement of EBM? Prima facie PCH only concerns the practice of medicine, while the contended features of EBM also include methods and medical model. I here argue that there are good philosophical reasons to see PCH as a radical alternative to the existing medical paradigm of EBM, since the two seem committed (...)
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  29. Is Dispositional Causation Just Mutual Manifestation?Christopher J. Austin - 2016 - Ratio 29 (3):235-248.
    Dispositional properties are often referred to as ‘causal powers’, but what does dispositional causation amount to? Any viable theory must account for two fundamental aspects of the metaphysics of causation – the causal complexity and context sensitivity of causal interactions. The theory of mutual manifestations attempts to do so by locating the complexity and context sensitivity within the nature of dispositions themselves. But is this theory an acceptable first step towards a viable theory of dispositional causation? This paper argues that (...)
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  30. Introduction.Matteo Bianchin & Italo Testa - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:3-6.
    Introduction to a Forum on Michael's Thompson "Life and Action".
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  31. Free Will and Agential Powers.Randolph Clarke & Thomas Reed - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Moral Responsibility 3:6-33.
    Free will is often said—by compatibilists and incompatibilists alike—to be a power (or complex of powers) of agents. This paper offers proposals for, and examines the prospects of, a powers-conception of free will that takes the powers in question to be causal dispositions. A difficulty for such an account stems from the idea that when one exercises free will, it is up to oneself whether one wills to do this or that. The paper also briefly considers whether a powers-conception that (...)
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  32. The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):529-541.
    The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird's and George Molnar's attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It (...)
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  33. Powers Opposed and Intrinsic Finks.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):372-380.
    Philosophers disagree over whether dispositions can be intrinsically finked or masked. Choi suggests that there are no clear, relevant differences between cases where intrinsic finks would be absurd and those where they seem plausible, and as a result rejects them wholesale. Here, I highlight two features of dispositional properties which, when considered together, provide a plausible explanation for when dispositions can be subject to intrinsic finks and when not.
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  34. Disposiciones, sistemas y concepciones de la sociedad: la filosofía en su Día y en su lugar natural.María G. Navarro - 2015 - Tehura 8:40-41.
    Si celebramos hoy, 19 de noviembre, el Día Mundial de la Filosofía, es porque consideramos que la Filosofía es una especie de patrimonio de la humanidad ¿verdad? Pero ¿qué hay en la filosofía que la haga merecedora de este calificativo? Para indagar en algunas de las razones que justifican este nombramiento de la UNESCO (...).
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  35. Dispositionalism and the Modal Operators.David Yates - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):411-424.
    Actualists of a certain stripe—dispositionalists—hold that metaphysical modality is grounded in the powers of actual things. Roughly: p is possible iff something has, or some things have, the power to bring it about that p. Extant critiques of dispositionalism focus on its material adequacy, and question whether there are enough powers to account for all the possibilities we intuitively want to countenance. For instance, it seems possible that none of the actual contingent particulars ever existed, but it is impossible to (...)
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  36. Causalism and Intentional Omission.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):15-26.
    It is natural to think that at root, agents are beings that act. Agents do more than this, however – agents omit to act. Sometimes agents do so intentionally. How should we understand intentional omission? Recent accounts of intentional omission have given causation a central theoretical role. The move is well-motivated. If some form of causalism about intentional omission can successfully exploit similarities between action and omission, it might inherit the broad support causalism about intentional action enjoys. In this paper (...)
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  37. Properties: Qualities, Powers, or Both?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):55-80.
    Powers are popularly assumed to be distinct from, and dependent upon, inert qualities, mainly because it is believed that qualities have their nature independently of other properties while powers have their nature in virtue of a relation to distinct manifestation property. George Molnar and Alexander Bird, on the other hand, characterize powers as intrinsic and relational. The difficulties of reconciling the characteristics of being intrinsic and at the same time essentially related are illustrated in this paper and it is argued (...)
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  38. Getting Causes From Powers, by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum. [REVIEW]Luke Glynn - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):1099-1106.
    In this book, Mumford and Anjum advance a theory of causation based on a metaphysics of powers. The book is for the most part lucidly written, and contains some interesting contributions: in particular on the necessary connection between cause and effect and on the perceivability of the causal relation. I do, however, have reservations about some of the book’s central theses: in particular, that cause and effect are simultaneous, and that causes can fruitfully be represented as vectors.
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  39. How Does Agent-­‐Causal Power Work?Andrei A. Buckareff - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):105-121.
    Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-­‐causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense. In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-­‐causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-­‐causalism developed and defended by Timothy O’Connor’s in (...)
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  40. D. H. MELLOR The Matter of Chance.Luke Glynn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):899-906.
    Though almost forty years have elapsed since its first publication, it is a testament to the philosophical acumen of its author that 'The Matter of Chance' contains much that is of continued interest to the philosopher of science. Mellor advances a sophisticated propensity theory of chance, arguing that this theory makes better sense than its rivals (in particular subjectivist, frequentist, logical and classical theories) of ‘what professional usage shows to be thought true of chance’ (p. xi) – in particular ‘that (...)
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  41. A Tale of Two Simples.Joshua Spencer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):167 - 181.
    A material simple is a material object that has no proper parts. Some philosophers have argued for the possibility of extended simples. Some have even argued for the possibility of heterogeneous simples or simples that have intrinsic variations across their surfaces. There is a puzzle, though, that is meant to show that extended, heterogeneous simples are impossible. Although several plausible responses have been given to this puzzle, I wish to reopen the case against extended, heterogeneous simples. In this paper, I (...)
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  42. Potentiality and Possibility.Barbara Vetter - 2010 - Dissertation, Oxford
    In this thesis, I develop a nonreductive and general conception of potentiality, and explore the prospects of a realist account of possibility based on this account of potentiality. Potentialities are properties of individual objects; they include dispositions such as fragility and abilities such as the ability to play the piano. Potentialities are individuated by their manifestation alone. In order to provide a unified account of potentialities, I argue in chapter 2 that dispositions, contrary to philosophical orthodoxy, are best understood in (...)
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  43. Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind.Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.) - 2009 - Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.
    Ordinary language and scientific discourse are filled with linguistic expressions for dispositional properties such as “soluble,” “elastic,” “reliable,” and “humorous.” We characterize objects in all domains – physical objects as well as human persons – with the help of dispositional expressions. Hence, the concept of a disposition has historically and systematically played a central role in different areas of philosophy ranging from metaphysics to ethics. The contributions of this volume analyze the ancient foundations of the discussion about disposition, examine the (...)
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  44. The Metaphysics of Dispositions and Causes.Toby Handfield - 2009 - In Dispositions and Causes. Clarendon Press. pp. 1--30.
    This article gives a general overview of recent metaphysical work on dispositional properties and causal relations. It serves as an introduction to the edited volume, Dispositions and Causes.
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  45. A World of Propensities.Karl Popper - 1990 - Thoemmes.
    This book contains two lectures - given in 1988 and 1989 respectively - which belong to Karl Popper's late work, most of which is still unpublished. The first introduces a new view of causality, based on Popper's interpretation of quantum theory, yet freed of difficulty. It is a new view of the universe - a view that easily merges with the commonsense view that our will is free. The second lecture gives a glimpse of human knowledge as it evolves from (...)
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