Expanding the vector model for dispositionalist approaches to causation

Synthese 196 (12):5083-5098 (2019)
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Abstract

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 flexible enough to further accommodate either stimulation or mutual manifestation. Representational tools are provided to address these limitations, improving the general value of the vector model for dispositionalist approaches to causation.

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