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The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers

Mind 122 (487):605-653 (2013)

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  1. Grounding Theories of Powers.Matthew Tugby - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):11187-11216.
    Necessitarianism, as we shall use the term, is the view that natural properties and causal powers are necessarily connected in some way. In recent decades the most popular forms of necessitarianism have been the anti-Humean powers-based theories of properties, such as dispositional essentialism and the identity theory. These versions of necessitarianism have come under fire in recent years and I believe it is time for necessitarians to develop a new approach. In this paper I identify unexplored ways of positing metaphysically (...)
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  • Reconsidering the Dispositional Essentialist Canon.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3421-3441.
    Dispositional Essentialism is a unified anti-Humean account of the metaphysics of low-level physical properties and laws of nature. In this paper, I articulate the view that I label Canonical Dispositional Essentialism, which comprises a structuralist metaphysics of properties and an account of laws as relations in the property structure. I then present an alternative anti-Humean account of properties and laws. This account rejects CDE’s structuralist metaphysics of properties in favour of a view of properties as qualitative grounds of dispositions and (...)
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  • Making Sense of Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort (...)
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  • The Question of Realism for Powers.Lorenzo Azzano - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):329-354.
    In recent years, a new dispute has risen to prominence: the dispute between realists and anti-realists about causal powers. Albeit sometimes overlooked, the meta-ontological features of this “question of realism for powers” are quite peculiar. For friends and foes of causal powers have characterized their contrasting views in a variety of different ways; as existence claims, as semantic or truth-making claims, as fundamentality claims, as claims about the nature of certain properties. Not only does this multiplicity of interpretations make it (...)
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  • Dispositional Essentialism and the Grounding of Natural Modality.Siegfried Jaag - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Dispositional essentialism is a non-Humean view about the essences of certain fundamental or natural properties that looms large in recent metaphysics , not least because it promises to explain neatly the natural modalities such as laws of nature, counterfactuals, causation and chance. In the current paper, however, several considerations are presented that indicate a serious tension between its essentialist core thesis and natural “metaphysical” interpretations of its central explanatory claims.
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  • Parsing the Rainbow.Pendaran Roberts - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1793-1811.
    Navigating the ontology of color used to be a simple affair. There was the naive view that colors really are in objects the way they appear, and the view that they are secondary qualities to cause certain experiences in us. Today, there are myriad well-developed views but no satisfactory taxonomy of philosophical theories on color. In this article, I first examine the two newest taxonomies on offer and argue that they are inadequate. In particular, I look at Brogaard’s taxonomy and (...)
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  • Finality Revived: Powers and Intentionality.David S. Oderberg - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2387-2425.
    Proponents of physical intentionality argue that the classic hallmarks of intentionality highlighted by Brentano are also found in purely physical powers. Critics worry that this idea is metaphysically obscure at best, and at worst leads to panpsychism or animism. I examine the debate in detail, finding both confusion and illumination in the physical intentionalist thesis. Analysing a number of the canonical features of intentionality, I show that they all point to one overarching phenomenon of which both the mental and the (...)
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  • A Brighter Shade of Categoricalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-30.
    Categoricalism is a doctrine about properties according to which the dispositional aspects of properties are not essential to them. In opposition to categoricalism, dispositionalism holds that the dispositional aspects of properties are essential to them. In this article, I shall construct a new version of categoricalism that should be favoured over the other existing versions: Semi-Necessitarian Categoricalism. In Section 2 I shall elaborate on the distinction between categoricalism and dispositionalism and single out different ‘shades’ of both doctrines. I shall also (...)
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  • Manifestation and Unrestricted Dispositional Monism.Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-18.
    Most metaphysicians agree that powers can exist without being manifested. The main goal of this paper is to show that adherents of an unrestricted version of Dispositional Monism cannot provide a plausible metaphysical account of the difference between a situation in which a power-instance is not manifested and a situation in which a manifestation of that power-instance actually occurs unless they undermine their own view. To this end, two kinds of manifestation-relation are introduced and it is argued that dispositional monists (...)
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  • The Fundamentality of Fundamental Powers.Joaquim Giannotti - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-25.
    Dispositional essentialism is the view that all or many fundamental properties are essentially dispositional, or powers. The literature on the dispositional essence of powers is abundant. In contrast, the question of how to understand the fundamentality of fundamental powers has received scarce interest. Therefore, the fundamentality of powers stands in need of clarification. There are four main conceptions of the fundamental, namely as that which is metaphysically independent; or belonging to a minimally complete basis; or perfectly natural; or metaphysically primitive. (...)
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  • Powerful Qualities and Pure Powers.Henry Taylor - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1423-1440.
    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 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 (...)
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  • Tropes, Unmanifested Dispositions and Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    According to a well-known argument, originally due to David Armstrong, powers theory is objectionable, as it leads to a ‘Meinongian’ ontology on which some entities are real but do not actually exist. I argue here that the right conclusion to draw from this argument has thus far not been identified and that doing so has significant implications for powers theory. Specifically, I argue that the key consequence of the argument is that it provides substantial grounds for trope powers theorists, but (...)
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  • Naturalización de la Metafísica Modal.Carlos Romero - 2021 - Dissertation, National Autonomous University of Mexico
    In this dissertation I introduce, motivate and take the first steps in the realization of, the project of naturalizing modal metaphysics: the transformation of the field into a chapter of the philosophy of science rather than speculative, autonomous metaphysics. -/- In the introduction, I explain the concept of naturalization that I take for granted throughout the dissertation, in addition to objecting to two recent proposals, according to which modal metaphysics --- or some view in the area --- is already a (...)
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  • 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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  • Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism - a Hybrid View.Julie Godfrey - 2020 - Dissertation, Durham University
    Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism aim to account for modality. Dispositional Essentialism takes properties to account for laws. In particular, it takes determinate properties to account for laws of nature, which are determinable. Ontic Structural Realism does the reverse. According to Steven French, Ontic Structural Realism takes laws and symmetries to be part of the fundamental structure of the world. Determinate properties are “dependent” on laws. The core difference between Dispositional Essentialism and Ontic Structural Realism’s accounts of modality is (...)
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  • Lowe's Unorthodox Dispositionalism.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (1):79-101.
    The deep differences between E. J. Lowe’s ontology of dispositions and that maintained by other prominent dispositionalists have received relatively little attention in the existing literature on his work. Here I lay out some of these differences, along the way attempting to clarify whether Lowe’s ontology can properly be termed ‘dispositionalist.’ I then argue that the unique features of his ontology allow it to avoid some well-known worries facing standard dispositionalism, while at the same time opening his view to novel (...)
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  • The Essences of Fundamental Properties.Jennifer Wang - 2019 - Metaphysics 2 (1):40-54.
    There is a puzzle concerning the essences of fundamental entities that arises from considerations about essence, on one hand, and fundamentality, on the other. The Essence-Dependence Link (EDL) says that if x figures in the essence of y, then y is dependent upon x. EDL is prima facie plausible in many cases, especially those involving derivative entities. But consider the property negative charge. A negatively charged object exhibits certain behaviors that a positively charged object does not: it moves away from (...)
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  • Overpowering: How the Powers Ontology Has Overreached Itself.Alexander Bird - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):341-383.
    Many authors have argued in favour of an ontology of properties as powers, and it has been widely argued that this ontology allows us to address certain philosophical problems in novel and illuminating ways, for example, causation, representation, intentionality, free will and liberty. I argue that the ontology of powers, even if successful as an account of fundamental natural properties, does not provide the insight claimed as regards the aforementioned non-fundamental phenomena. I illustrate this argument by criticizing the powers theory (...)
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  • Intrinsic Dispositional Properties and Immanent Realism.Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (4):500-519.
    _ Source: _Page Count 20 Tugby and Yates have recently argued that immanent realism is incompatible with the existence of intrinsic but relationally constituted genuine dispositional properties. The success of Tugby’s and Yates’ arguments depends either on a strong or on a weak assumption about the interworld identity of dispositional properties. In this paper, the author evaluates the strength of the arguments in question under those two assumptions. He also offers an alternative metaphysical picture for the fundamental dispositional properties which (...)
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  • MaxCon Extended Simples and the Dispositionalist Ontology of Laws.Travis Dumsday - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    Extended simples are physical objects that, while spatially extended, possess no actual proper parts. The theory that physical reality bottoms out at extended simples is one of the principal competing views concerning the fundamental composition of matter, the others being atomism and the theory of gunk. Among advocates of extended simples, Markosian’s ‘MaxCon’ version of the theory has justly achieved particular prominence. On the assumption of causal realism, I argue here that the reality of MaxCon simples would entail the reality (...)
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