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Stephen Mumford
Durham University
  1. A Powerful Theory of Causation.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2010 - In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. pp. 143--159.
    Hume thought that if you believed in powers, you believed in necessary connections in nature. He was then able to argue that there were none such because anything could follow anything else. But Hume wrong-footed his opponents. A power does not necessitate its manifestations: rather, it disposes towards them in a way that is less than necessary but more than purely contingent. -/- In this paper a dispositional theory of causation is offered. Causes dispose towards their effects and often produce (...)
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  2. Dispositional Modality.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - In C. F. Gethmann (ed.), Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft, Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 2. Meiner Verlag.
    There has been much discussion of powers or real dispositions in the past decade, but there remains an issue that has been inadequately treated. This concerns the precise modal value that comes with dispositionality. We contend in this paper that dispositionality involves a non-alethic, sui generis, irreducible modality. Dispositions only tend towards their manifestations; they do not necessitate them. Tendency is, of course, a dispositional term itself, so this last statement offers little by way of illumination. But given our thesis (...)
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  3. Spoils to the Vector - How to Model Causes If You Are a Realist About Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - The Monist 94 (1):54-80.
    A standard way of representing causation is with neuron diagrams. This has become popular since the influential work of David Lewis. But it should not be assumed that such representations are metaphysically neutral and amenable to any theory of causation. On the contrary, this way of representing causation already makes several Humean assumptions about what causation is, and which suit Lewis’s programme of Humean Supervenience. An alternative of a vector diagram is better suited for a powers ontology. Causation should be (...)
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  4. Double Prevention and Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
    Does A cause B simply if A prevents what would have prevented B? Such a case is known as double prevention: where we have the prevention of a prevention. One theory of causation is that A causes B when B counterfactually depends on A and, as there is such a dependence, proponents of the view must rule that double prevention is causation.<br><br>However, if double prevention is causation, it means that causation can be an extrinsic matter, that the cause and effect (...)
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  5. Dispositions and Ethics.Rani Lill Anjum, Svein Anders Noer Lie & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    What is the connection between dispositions and ethics? Some might think very little and those who are interested in dispositions tend to be metaphysicians whose interests are far from value. However, we argue in this paper that dispositions and dispositionality are central to ethics, indeed a precondition. Ethics rests on a number of notions that are either dispositional in nature or involve real dispositions or powers at work. We argue for a dispositional account of value that offers an alternative to (...)
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  6. Conditional Probability From an Ontological Point of View.Rani Lill Anjum, Johan Arnt Myrstad & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    This paper argues that the technical notion of conditional probability, as given by the ratio analysis, is unsuitable for dealing with our pretheoretical and intuitive understanding of both conditionality and probability. This is an ontological account of conditionals that include an irreducible dispositional connection between the antecedent and consequent conditions and where the conditional has to be treated as an indivisible whole rather than compositional. The relevant type of conditionality is found in some well-defined group of conditional statements. As an (...)
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  7. What We Tend to Mean.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2011 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 46 (1):20-33.
    In this paper a dispositional account of meaning is offered. Words might dispose towards a particular or ‘literal’ meaning, but whether this meaning is actually conveyed when expressed will depend on a number of factors, such as speaker’s intentions, the context of the utterance and the background knowledge of the hearer. It is thus argued that no meaning is guaranteed or necessitated by the words used.
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  8. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility - On Causation and Responsibility in Spider-Man, and Possibly Moore.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2011 - Critical Essays on "Causation and Responsibility".
    Omissions are sometimes linked to responsibility. A harm can counterfactually depend on an omission to prevent it. If someone had the ability to prevent a harm but didn’t, this could suffice to ground their responsibility for the harm. Michael S. Moore’s claim is illustrated by the tragic case of Peter Parker, shortly after he became Spider-Man. Sick of being pushed around as a weakling kid, Peter became drunk on the power he acquired from the freak bite of a radioactive spider. (...)
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