Can Causal Powers Cause Their Effects?

Metaphysica 23 (2):455-473 (2022)
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Abstract

Causal Dispositionalism provides an account of causation based on an ontology of causal powers, properties with causal essence. According to the account, causation can be analysed in terms of the interaction of powers and its subsequent production of their effect. Recently, Baltimore, J. A. has raised a challenge against two competing approaches, the compositional view and the mutual manifestation view, to explain what makes powers interactive – the interaction gap. In this paper, we raise the challenge of explaining what makes powers productive – the production gap. While Baltimore’s verdict is tentatively favouring, we find both approaches wanting. Our conclusion is that Causal Dispositionalists should take Baltimore’s and our critique seriously. Powers cannot cause their effects just by bearing the name “causal”. To deserve their names, more metaphysical details are needed.

Author's Profile

Andrea Raimondi
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology

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