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The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers

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

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • The Identity Theory of Powers Revised.Joaquim Giannotti - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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