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  1. added 2019-05-31
    Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford What Tends to Be: The Philosophy of Dispositional Modality. London & New York: Routledge, Hbk Pp. X+193. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201903.
    There seems to be widespread agreement that there are two modal values: necessity and possibility. X is necessary if it is not possible that not-X; and Y is possible if it is not necessary that not-Y. In their path-breaking book, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford defend the radical idea that there is a third modal value, weaker than necessity and stronger than possibility. This third value is dubbed 'dispositional modality' (DM) or 'tendency' and is taken to be an irreducible (...)
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  2. added 2018-12-18
    Introduction.Gregor Damschen - 2009 - In Gregor Damschen, Karsten Stueber & Robert Schnepf (eds.), Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.
    Introduction to Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind, ed. by Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf, and Karsten R. Stueber, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 2009.
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  3. added 2018-11-02
    Inverse Functionalism and the Individuation of Powers.David Yates - 2017 - Synthese 195 (10):4525-4550.
    In the pure powers ontology (PPO), basic physical properties have wholly dispositional essences. PPO has clear advantages over categoricalist ontologies, which suffer from familiar epistemological and metaphysical problems. However, opponents argue that because it contains no qualitative properties, PPO lacks the resources to individuate powers, and generates a regress. The challenge for those who take such arguments seriously is to introduce qualitative properties without reintroducing the problems that PPO was meant to solve. In this paper, I distinguish the core claim (...)
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  4. added 2018-06-05
    VI—Agency and Two‐Way Powers.Maria Alvarez - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):101-121.
    In this paper I propose a way of characterizing human agency in terms of the concept of a two‐way power. I outline this conception of agency, defend it against some objections, and briefly indicate how it relates to free agency and to moral praise‐ and blameworthiness.
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  5. added 2018-05-14
    Absence Causation for Causal Dispositionalists.Randolph Clarke - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):323-331.
    Several theories of causation reject causation of or by absences. They thereby clash with much of what we think and say about what causes what. This paper examines a way in which one kind of theory, causal dispositionalism, can be modified so as to accept absence causation, while still retaining a fundamental commitment of dispositionalism. The proposal adopts parts of a strategy described by David Lewis. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the problem of the proliferation of causes.
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  6. added 2018-04-09
    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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  7. added 2018-04-09
    Causal Production as Interaction.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Metaphysica 3 (1):87-119.
    The paper contains a novel realist account of causal production and the necessary connection between cause and effect. I argue that the asymmetric relation between causally connected events must be regarded as a product of a symmetric interaction between two or more entities. All the entities involved contribute to the producing, and so count as parts of the cause, and they all suffer a change, and so count as parts of the effect. Cause and effect, on this account, are two (...)
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  8. added 2018-03-28
    Dispositional and Categorical Properties, and Russellian Monism.Eric Hiddleston - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):65-92.
    This paper has two main aims. The first is to present a general approach for understanding “dispositional” and “categorical” properties; the second aim is to use this approach to criticize Russellian Monism. On the approach I suggest, what are usually thought of as “dispositional” and “categorical” properties are really just the extreme ends of a spectrum of options. The approach allows for a number of options between these extremes, and it is plausible, I suggest, that just about everything of scientific (...)
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  9. added 2018-03-22
    Legal Agreements and the Capacities of Agents.Andrei Buckareff - 2014 - In Law and the Philosophy of Action. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 195-219.
    Most work at the intersection of law and the philosophy of action focuses on criminal responsibility. Unfortunately, this focus has been at the expense of reflecting on how the philosophy of action might help illuminate our understanding of issues in civil law. In this essay, focusing on Anglo-American jurisprudence, we examine the conditions under which a party to a legal agreement is deemed to have the capacity required to be bound by that agreement. We refer to this condition as the (...)
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  10. added 2018-03-05
    Powers, Double Prevention and Mental Causation.Kim Davies - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (1):37-42.
    S. C. Gibb holds that some mental events enable physical events to take place by acting as ‘double preventers’ which prevent other mental events from effecting change in the physical domain. She argues that this enables a dualist account of psychophysical interaction consistent with the causal relevance of mental events, their distinctness from physical events, the causal closure of the physical and the exclusion of systematic overdetermination. While accepting the causal powers metaphysic, this paper argues that: Closure is maintained only (...)
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  11. added 2018-03-02
    Does Dispositionalism Entail Panpsychism?Hedda Hassel Mørch - 2018 - Topoi:1-16.
    According to recent arguments for panpsychism, all (or most) physical properties are dispositional, dispositions require categorical grounds, and the only categorical properties we know are phenomenal properties. Therefore, phenomenal properties can be posited as the categorical grounds of all (or most) physical properties – in order to solve the mind–body problem and/or in order avoid noumenalism about the grounds of the physical world. One challenge to this case comes from dispositionalism, which agrees that all physical properties are dispositional, but denies (...)
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  12. added 2018-02-18
    Expanding the Vector Model for Dispositionalist Approaches to Causation.Joseph A. Baltimore - forthcoming - Synthese.
    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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  13. added 2017-12-21
    The Powers View of Properties, Fundamental Ontology, and Williams’s Arguments for Static Dispositions.Joseph A. 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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  14. added 2017-11-03
    A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 185-210.
    Although contemporary metaphysics has recently undergone a neo-Aristotelian revival wherein dispositions, or capacities are now commonplace in empirically grounded ontologies, being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, a central Aristotelian concept has yet to be given serious attention – the doctrine of hylomorphism. The reason for this is clear: while the Aristotelian ontological distinction between actuality and potentiality has proven to be a fruitful conceptual framework with which to model the operation of the natural world, the distinction between (...)
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  15. added 2017-03-15
    How Far Can the Physical Sciences Reach?Robert Schroer - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (3):253.
    To put it bluntly, Physicalism is the thesis that everything that exists is physical. Although Physicalism enjoys a great deal of popularity, two widely accepted theses, the physical sciences only tell us about the dispositional properties of the objects they study, and dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties, seem to guarantee that, under some sense of the word, the physical sciences are fated to give us an "incomplete" picture of what exists.In what follows, this challenge to Physicalism will be referred (...)
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  16. added 2016-12-21
    Relational Properties, Causal Powers and Psychological Laws.Sean Crawford - 2003 - Acta Analytica 18 (30-31):193-216.
    This paper argues that Twin Earth twins belong to the same psychological natural kind, but that the reason for this is not that the causal powers of mental states supervene on local neural structure. Fodor’s argument for this latter thesis is criticized and found to rest on a confusion between it and the claim that Putnamian and Burgean type relational psychological properties do not affect the causal powers of the mental states that have them. While it is true that Putnamian (...)
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  17. added 2016-12-08
    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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  18. added 2016-12-08
    The Internal Relatedness of All Things.J. Schaffer - 2010 - Mind 119 (474):341-376.
    The argument from internal relatedness was one of the major nineteenth century neo-Hegelian arguments for monism. This argument has been misunderstood, and may even be sound. The argument, as I reconstruct it, proceeds in two stages: first, it is argued that all things are internally related in ways that render them interdependent; second, the substantial unity of the whole universe is inferred from the interdependence of all of its parts. The guiding idea behind the argument is that failure of free (...)
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  19. added 2016-11-18
    Evo-Devo: A Science of Dispositions.Christopher Austin - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):373-389.
    Evolutionary developmental biology represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of the ontogenesis and evolutionary progression of the denizens of the natural world. Given the empirical successes of the evo-devo framework, and its now widespread acceptance, a timely and important task for the philosophy of biology is to critically discern the ontological commitments of that framework and assess whether and to what extent our current metaphysical models are able to accommodate them. In this paper, I argue that one particular model (...)
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  20. added 2016-11-01
    Leibniz, Bayle and the Controversy on Sudden Change.Markku Roinila - 2016 - In Giovanni Scarafile & Leah Gruenpeter Gold (eds.), Paradoxes of Conflict. Springer. pp. 29-40.
    will give an overview of the fascinating communication between G. W. Leibniz and Pierre Bayle on pre-established harmony and sudden change in the soul which started from Bayle’s footnote H to the article “Rorarius” in his Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697) and ended in 1706 with Bayle’s death. I will compare the views presented in the communication to Leibniz’s reflections on the soul in his partly concurrent Nouveaux essais sur l’entendement humain (1704) and argue that many topics in the communication (...)
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  21. added 2016-08-29
    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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  22. added 2016-06-24
    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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  23. added 2015-06-25
    Dispositions and the Principle of Least Action Revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thebault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  24. added 2015-05-04
    The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism.Christopher J. Austin - 2015 - Ratio 28 (3):271-285.
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  25. added 2015-02-08
    The Power of Holes.Daisuke Kachi - 2011 - Ontology Meeting: A Supplementary Volume for 2011, February Meeting:7-11.
    Firstly I define a hole as a dependent matter-less endurant, which is a little modification of Casati and Varzi’s definition. Adopting this definition, holes seem to invite three problems about causation: (1)causal closure, (2)ungrounded disposition and (3)causal overdetermination. I will defend my definition against all these problems by showing that holes are limiting cases of physical endurants rather than their opposition and that they have causal powers in a broad sense.
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  26. added 2015-01-23
    Abilities to Do Otherwise.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3017-3035.
    In this paper I argue that there are different ways that an agent may be able to do otherwise and that therefore, when free will is understood as requiring that an agent be able to do otherwise, we face the following question: which way of being able to do otherwise is most relevant to free will? I answer this question by first discussing the nature of intrinsic dispositions and abilities, arguing that for each action type there is a spectrum of (...)
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  27. added 2014-11-06
    Is Powerful Causation an Internal Relation?David Yates - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Oxford University Press. pp. 138-156.
    In this paper I consider whether a powers ontology facilitates a reduction of causal relations to intrinsic powers of the causal relata. I first argue that there is a tension in the view that powerful causation is an internal relation in this sense. Powers are ontologically dependent on other powers for their individuation, but in that case—given an Aristotelian conception of properties as immanent universals—powers will not be intrinsic on several extant analyses of ‘intrinsic’, since to possess a given power (...)
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  28. added 2014-05-18
    Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - forthcoming - Dialectica.
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  29. added 2014-05-17
    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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  30. added 2014-05-06
    A Pragmatic Realism: Events, Powers, and Relations in the Metaphysics of Objective Relativism.Patrick John Taylor - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Oregon
    The early twentieth century witnessed the emergence of "objective relativism," a distinctly American school of metaphysical realism inspired by the works of John Dewey and A.N. Whitehead. Largely forgotten, objective relativism provided a metaphysical framework, based upon an ontology of events and relations rather than substances and discrete properties, that has continued relevance for contemporary metaphysical discussions. In this thesis, I attempt to chart the boundaries and pathways of this ontology, outlining what Dewey calls the "ground-map of the province of (...)
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  31. added 2014-04-02
    The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers.Stephen Barker - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):605-653.
    This paper argues that the new metaphysics of powers, also known as dispositional essentialism or causal structuralism, is an illusory metaphysics. I argue for this in the following way. I begin by distinguishing three fundamental ways of seeing how facts of physical modality — facts about physical necessitation and possibility, causation, disposition, and chance — are grounded in the world. The first way, call it the first degree, is that the actual world or all worlds, in their entirety, are the (...)
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  32. added 2014-04-01
    The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  33. added 2014-03-29
    A Powerful Theory of Causation.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2010 - In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. pp. 143--159.
    Hume thought that if you believed in powers, you believed in necessary connections in nature. He was then able to argue that there were none such because anything could follow anything else. But Hume wrong-footed his opponents. A power does not necessitate its manifestations: rather, it disposes towards them in a way that is less than necessary but more than purely contingent. -/- In this paper a dispositional theory of causation is offered. Causes dispose towards their effects and often produce (...)
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  34. added 2014-03-13
    The Causal Theory of Properties and the Causal Theory of Reference, or How to Name Properties and Why It Matters.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):579 - 612.
    forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  35. added 2014-03-09
    The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  36. added 2014-03-09
    Double Prevention and Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
    Does A cause B simply if A prevents what would have prevented B? Such a case is known as double prevention: where we have the prevention of a prevention. One theory of causation is that A causes B when B counterfactually depends on A and, as there is such a dependence, proponents of the view must rule that double prevention is causation.<br><br>However, if double prevention is causation, it means that causation can be an extrinsic matter, that the cause and effect (...)
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  37. added 2014-03-08
    Causal Mechanisms and the Philosophy of Causation.Ruth Groff - manuscript
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  38. added 2014-03-06
    Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.Ruth Groff - manuscript
    I argue that a powers-based metaphysics radically reconfigures the existing free will problematic. This is different from claiming that such an approach solves the ill-conceived problems that emerge from Humean-Kantian default commitments.
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  39. added 2014-03-06
    What Should a Powers-Based Theory of Free Will Be About?Ruth Groff - manuscript
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  40. added 2013-11-07
    Book Review: Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW]Esteban Céspedes - 2012 - Critica 44 (130):101-108.
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  41. added 2013-09-05
    New Work in Metaphysics of Science.Andreas Hüttemann - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):275-282.
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  42. added 2013-05-10
    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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  43. added 2012-03-28
    Potentiality and Possibility.Barbara Vetter - 2010 - Dissertation, Oxford
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  44. added 2011-05-19
    Spoils to the Vector - How to Model Causes If You Are a Realist About Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - The Monist 94 (1):54-80.
    A standard way of representing causation is with neuron diagrams. This has become popular since the influential work of David Lewis. But it should not be assumed that such representations are metaphysically neutral and amenable to any theory of causation. On the contrary, this way of representing causation already makes several Humean assumptions about what causation is, and which suit Lewis’s programme of Humean Supervenience. An alternative of a vector diagram is better suited for a powers ontology. Causation should be (...)
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  45. added 2010-06-22
    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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  46. added 2009-04-27
    Hic Rhodos, Hic Salta: From Reductionist Semantics to a Realist Ontology of Forceful Dispositions.Markus Schrenk - 2009 - In G. Damschen, K. Stueber & R. Schnepf (eds.), Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 143-167.
    It is widely believed that at least two developments in the last third of the 20th century have given dispositionalism—the view that powers, capacities, potencies, etc. are irreducible real properties—new credibility: (i) the many counterexamples launched against reductive analyses of dispositional predicates in terms of counterfactual conditionals and (ii) a new anti-Humean faith in necessary connections in nature which, it is said, owes a lot to Kripke’s arguments surrounding metaphysical necessity. I aim to show in this paper that necessity is, (...)
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  47. added 2008-12-31
    Humean Dispositionalism.Toby Handfield - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):113-126.
    Humean metaphysics is characterized by a rejection of necessary connections between distinct existences. Dispositionalists claim that there are basic causal powers. The existence of such properties is widely held to be incompatible with the Humean rejection of necessary connections. In this paper I present a novel theory of causal powers that vindicates the dispositionalist claim that causal powers are basic, without embracing brute necessary connections. The key assumptions of the theory are that there are natural types of causal processes, and (...)
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