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The Powerlessness of Necessity

Noûs 44 (4):725-739 (2010)

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  1. Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems in contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics, with real causal powers at its center. Molnar's eagerly anticipated book setting out his theory of powers was almost complete when he died, and has been prepared for publication by Stephen Mumford, who provides a context-setting introduction.
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  • Finkish Dispositions.David K. Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
    Many years ago, C.B. Martin drew our attention to the possibility of ‘finkish’ dispositions: dispositions which, if put to the test would not be manifested, but rather would disappear. Thus if x if finkishly disposed to give response r to stimulus s, it is not so that if x were subjected to stimulus r, x would give response z; so finkish dispositions afford a counter‐example to the simplest conditional analysis of dispositions. Martin went on to suggest that finkish dispositions required (...)
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  • Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Professional philosophers and advanced students working in metaphysics and the philosophy of science will find this book both provocative and stimulating.
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  • Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
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  • Dispositions and Antidotes.Alexander Bird - 1998 - Philosophical Quarterly 48 (191):227-234.
    In ‘Finkish Dispositions’1 David Lewis proposes an analysis of dispositions which improves on the simple conditional analysis. In this paper I show that Lewis’ analysis still fails. I also argue that repairs are of no avail, and suggest why this is so.
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  • Dispositions.John Heil - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):343-356.
    Appeals to dispositionality in explanations of phenomena in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, require that we first agree on what we are talking about. I sketch an account of what dispositionality might be. That account will place me at odds with most current conceptions of dispositionality. My aim is not to establish a weighty ontological thesis, however, but to move the discussion ahead in two respects. First, I want to call attention to the extent to which assumptions philosophers have (...)
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  • Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
    Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds and his theory of laws of nature.
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  • Does Anything Hold the Universe Together?Helen Beebee - 2006 - Synthese 149 (3):509-533.
    According to ‘regularity theories’ of causation, the obtaining of causal relations depends on no more than the obtaining of certain kinds of regularity. Regularity theorists are thus anti-realists about necessary connections in nature. Regularity theories of one form or another have constituted the dominant view in analytic Philosophy for a long time, but have recently come in for some robust criticism, notably from Galen Strawson. Strawson’s criticisms are natural criticisms to make, but have not so far provoked much response from (...)
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  • Counterfactuals.D. Lewis - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):403-405.
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  • Fact, Fiction and Forecast.NELSON GOODMAN - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
    In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims.
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  • Fact, Fiction and Forecast.NELSON GOODMAN - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 9 (36):331-333.
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  • Fact, Fiction and Forecast.Nelson Goodman & Andrew G. Van Melsen - 1955 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 16 (2):271-273.
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  • Causation and Universals.Evan FALES - 1990 - Routledge.
    The world contains objective causal relations and universals, both of which are intimately connected. If these claims are true, they must have far-reaching consequences, breathing new life into the theory of empirical knowledge and reinforcing epistemological realism. Without causes and universals, Professor Fales argues, realism is defeated, and idealism or scepticism wins. Fales begins with a detailed analysis of David Hume's argument that we have no direct experience of necessary connections between events, concluding that Hume was mistaken on this fundamental (...)
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  • Causation and Universals.Evan FALES - 1990 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):1001-1004.
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  • The Perception of Causality.A. Michotte, T. R. Miles & Elaine Miles - 1963 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 15 (59):254-259.
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - Mind 107 (427):669-672.
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1997 - Philosophy 74 (287):130-134.
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Mind 113 (450):334-340.
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  • Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and whose (...)
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  • Defining Disposition Concepts: A Brief History of the Problem.Wolfgang Malzkorn - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (2):335-353.
    The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, I give a brief account of the history of the debate on the problem of defining disposition concepts from its beginning in the late 1920s until today. This account is divided into four parts, corresponding with 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the paper, each of which deals with a major period of the debate. Section 2 reports up to the mid-1950s. Section 3 deals with important contributions to the discussion between 1955 (...)
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  • Causation and Universals.The Secret Connexion: Causation, Realism, and David Hume.Causation: A Realist Approach.Evan Fales, Galen Strawson & Michael Tooley - 1991 - Philosophical Quarterly 41 (165):494-498.
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  • Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
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  • Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism.Markus Schrenk - 2010 - In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.
    Since the mid-90s dispositionalism, the view that dispositions are irreducible, real properties, gained strength due to forceful counterexamples (finks and antidotes) that could be launched against Humean anti-dispositionalist attempts to reductively analyse dispositional predicates. -/- In the light of these anti-Humean successes, and in combination with ideas surrounding metaphysical necessity put forward by Kripke and Putnam, some dispositionalists felt encouraged to propose a strong anti-Humean view under the name of “Dispositional Essentialism”. -/- In this paper, I show that, ironically, the (...)
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  • 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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  • Dispositions and Conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.
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  • The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2002 - Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
    For many years essentialism was considered beyond the pale in philosophy, a relic of discredited Aristotelianism. This is no longer so. Kripke and Putnam have made belief in essential natures respectable once more. Harré and Madden have argued against Hume's theory of causation and developed an alternative theory based on the assumption that there are genuine causal powers in nature. Dretske, Tooley, Armstrong, Swoyer, and Carroll have all developed strong alternatives to Hume's theory of the laws of nature. And Shoemaker (...)
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  • Laws and Dispositions.Andreas Hüttemann - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (1):121-135.
    Laws are supposed to tell us how physical systems actually behave. The analysis of an important part of physical practice--abstraction--shows, however, that laws describe the behavior of physical systems under very special circumstances, namely when they are isolated. Nevertheless, laws are applied in cases of non-isolation as well. This practice requires an explanation. It is argued that one has to assume that physical systems have dispositions. I take these to be innocuous from an empiricist's standpoint because they can--at least in (...)
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  • Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume, L. A. Selby-Bigge & P. H. Nidditch - 1976 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 166 (2):265-266.
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  • Hume and Thick Connexions.Simon Blackburn - 1990 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50:237-250.
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  • Testability and Meaning (Part 1).Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):420-71.
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  • Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume - 1777 - Greenwood Press.
    A scholarly edition of a work by David Hume. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
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  • Explanation, Causation and Laws.Dorothy Edgington - 1990 - Critica 22 (66):55-73.
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  • The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2002 - Routledge.
    In "The Philosophy of Nature," Brian Ellis provides a clear and forthright general summation of, and introduction to, the new essentialist position. Although the theory that the laws of nature are immanent in things, rather than imposed on them from without, is an ancient one, much recent work has been done to revive interest in essentialism and "The Philosophy of Nature" is a distinctive contribution to this lively current debate. Brian Ellis exposes the philosophical and scientific credentials of the prevailing (...)
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  • On the Notion of Cause.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 7:1-26.
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  • Testability and Meaning (Part 2).Rudolf Carnap - 1937 - Philosophy of Science 4 (4):1-40.
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  • Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar & Stephen Mumford - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):674-677.
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  • Objectivity, Causality, and Agency.Thomas Baldwin - 1995 - In Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.), The Body and the Self. MIT Press. pp. 107--125.
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  • Causation and Explanation.Stathis Psillos - 2002 - Routledge.
    What is the nature of causation? How is causation linked with explanation? And can there be an adequate theory of explanation? These questions and many others are addressed in this unified and rigorous examination of the philosophical problems surrounding causation, laws and explanation. Part 1 of this book explores Hume's views on causation, theories of singular causation, and counterfactual and mechanistic approaches. Part 2 considers the regularity view of laws and laws as relations among universals, as well as recent alternative (...)
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  • Russell on Metaphysics: Selections From the Writings of Bertrand Russell.Bertrand Russell - 2003 - Routledge.
    Russell on Metaphysics brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of Russell's writings on metaphysics in one volume. Russell's major and lasting contribution to metaphysics has been hugely influential and his insights have led to the establishment of analytic philosophy as a dominant stream in philosophy. Stephen Mumford chronicles the metaphysical nature of these insights through accessible introductions to the texts, setting them in context and understanding their continued importance. Russell on Metaphysics is both a valuable introduction to (...)
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