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  1. B. W. A. (1976). Causal Powers. A Theory of Natural Necessity. Review of Metaphysics 29 (4):735-736.
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  2. Jonathan Adler, Commentary on Powers.
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  3. Christopher J. Austin (2015). Is Dispositional Causation Just Mutual Manifestation? Ratio 28 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Dispositional properties are often referred to as ‘causal powers’, but what does dispositional causation amount to? Any viable theory must account for two fundamental aspects of the metaphysics of causation – the causal complexity and context sensitivity of causal interactions. The theory of mutual manifestations attempts to do so by locating the complexity and context sensitivity within the nature of dispositions themselves. But is this theory an acceptable first step towards a viable theory of dispositional causation? This paper argues that (...)
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  4. Christopher J. Austin (2014). The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism. Ratio 28 (2):n/a-n/a.
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  5. Stephen Barker (2013). The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers. Mind (487):fzt082.
    This paper argues that the new metaphysics of powers, also known as dispositional essentialism or causal structuralism, is an illusory metaphysics. I argue for this in the following way. I begin by distinguishing three fundamental ways of seeing how facts of physical modality — facts about physical necessitation and possibility, causation, disposition, and chance — are grounded in the world. The first way, call it the first degree, is that the actual world or all worlds, in their entirety, are the (...)
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  6. Elizabeth Lane Beardsley, Herbert Feigl, Donald C. Williams, Adolf Grünbaum, Y. H. Krikorian & C. West Churchman (1953). Comments on Mr. Ushenko's Theses. Review of Metaphysics 6 (3):473 - 482.
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  7. John Bigelow, Brian Ellis & Robert Pargetter (1988). Forces. Philosophy of Science 55 (4):614-630.
    Traditionally, forces are causes of a special sort. Forces have been conceived to be the direct or immediate causes of things. Other sorts of causes act indirectly by producing forces which are transmitted in various ways to produce various effects. However, forces are supposed to act directly without the mediation of anything else. But forces, so conceived, appear to be occult. They are mysterious, because we have no clear conception of what they are, as opposed to what they are postulated (...)
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  8. Alexander Bird (2009). Structural Properties Revisited. In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Clarendon Press. 215--41.
    Those who hold that all fundamental sparse properties have dispositional essences face a problem with structural (e.g. geometrical) properties. In this paper I consider a further route for the dispositional monist that is enabled by the requirement that physical theories should be background-free. If this requirement is respected then we can see how spatial displacement can be a causally active relation and hence may be understood dispositionally.
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  9. Alexander Bird (2007). Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. 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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  10. Alexander Bird (2007). The Regress of Pure Powers? Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):513–534.
    Dispositional monism is the view that natural properties and relations are ‘pure powers’. It is objected that dispositional monism involves some kind of vicious or otherwise unpalatable regress or circularity. I examine ways of making this objection precise. The most pressing interpretation is that is fails to make the identities of powers determinate. I demonstrate that this objection is in error. It does however puts certain constraints on what the structure of fundamental properties is like. I show what a satisfactory (...)
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  11. Alexander Bird (2006). Looking for Laws. Metascience 15:441-54.
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  12. Alexander Bird (2006). Potency and Modality. Synthese 149 (3):447-52.
    Let us call a property that is essentially dispositional a potency.1 David Armstrong thinks that potencies do not exist. All sparse properties are essentially categorical, where sparse properties are the explanatory properties of the type science seeks to discover. An alternative view, but not the only one, is that all sparse properties are potencies or supervene upon them. In this paper I shall consider the differences between these views, in particular the objections Armstrong raises against potencies.
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  13. Alexander Bird (2004). Strong Necessitarianism: The Nomological Identity of Possible Worlds. Ratio 17 (3):256–276.
    Dispositional essentialism, a plausible view about the natures of (sparse or natural) properties, yields a satisfying explanation of the nature of laws also. The resulting necessitarian conception of laws comes in a weaker version, which allows differences between possible worlds as regards which laws hold in those worlds and a stronger version that does not. The main aim of this paper is to articulate what is involved in accepting the stronger version, most especially the consequence that all possible properties exist (...)
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  14. Alexander Bird (2003). Structural Properties. In Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge. 155-68.
    Dispositional essentialists claim that dispositional properties are essentially dispositional: a property would not be the property it is unless it carried with it certain dispositional powers. Categoricalists about dispositional properties deny this, asserting that the same properties might have had different dispositional powers, had the contingent laws of nature been otherwise.
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  15. Alexander Bird, B. D. Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.) (2012). Properties, Powers, and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Routledge.
    While the phrase "metaphysics of science" has been used from time to time, it has only recently begun to denote a specific research area where metaphysics meets philosophy of science—and the sciences themselves. The essays in this volume demonstrate that metaphysics of science is an innovative field of research in its own right. The principal areas covered are: (1) The modal metaphysics of properties: What is the essential nature of natural properties? Are all properties essentially categorical? Are they all essentially (...)
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  16. Esteban Céspedes (2012). Book Review: Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW] Critica 44 (130):101-108.
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  17. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
    One view of the nature of properties has been crystallized in recent debate by an identity thesis proposed by Shoemaker. The general idea is that there is for behaviour. Well-known criticisms of this approach, however, remain unanswered, and the details of its connections to laws nothing more to being a particular causal property than conferring certain dispositions of nature and the precise ontology of causal properties stand in need of development. This paper examines and defends a dispositional essentialist account of (...)
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  18. Anjan Chakravatty, Inessential Aristotle: Powers Without Essences.
    A groundswell of recent work in philosophy has sought to revitalize the analysis of causation by appealing to “active principles” such as powers, dispositions, capacities, tendencies, and propensities. These principles are described in a realist and rather Aristotelian fashion, in stark contrast to the deflationary and linguistic accounts of such principles characteristic of Humean thought and empiricist thinking more generally. Natures, essences, powers, and de re necessity are back in the analysis of causation. I do not argue in this paper (...)
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  19. Gabriele Contessa (2015). Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):160-176.
    According to power theorists, properties are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although the power theory is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view according to which what dispositions a property confers on its bearers is contingent on what the laws of nature happen to be. This paper argues that the nomic theory is inconsistent, for, if it were correct, then properties would not confer any (...)
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  20. Gabriele Contessa (2010). Modal Truthmakers and Two Varieties of Actualism. Synthese 174 (3):341 - 353.
    In this paper, I distinguish between two varieties of actualism—hardcore actualism and softcore actualism—and I critically discuss Ross Cameron’s recent arguments for preferring a softcore actualist account of the truthmakers for modal truths over hardcore actualist ones. In the process, I offer some arguments for preferring the hardcore actualist account of modal truthmakers over the softcore actualist one.
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  21. Troy Cross (forthcoming). Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW] Dialectica.
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  22. Troy Cross (2013). Review of Groff and Greco, Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  23. Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.) (2009). Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. de Gruyter.
    The contributions of this volume analyze the ancient foundations of the discussion about disposition, examine the problem of disposition within the context of ...
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  24. Travis Dumsday (forthcoming). Why Pan-Dispositionalism is Incompatible with Metaphysical Naturalism. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-16.
    Pan-dispositionalism is one of the major theories in current analytic metaphysics concerning dispositional properties (i.e., causal powers / capacities / abilities) and how they relate to categorical properties (i.e., non-dispositional properties, paradigm cases of which include shape, size, structure etc.). According to pan-dispositionalists, all fundamental properties are dispositional in nature, such that any supposed categorical properties are either unreal or reducible in some way to the dispositional. I argue that if pan-dispositionalism is true then metaphysical naturalism (roughly the view that (...)
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  25. Dave Elder-Vass (2011). The Causal Power of Discourse. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (2):143-160.
    This paper outlines a realist approach to the social ontology of discourse. It seeks to synthesise some elements of the approach to discourse found in the early work of Michel Foucault with a critical realist understanding of the causal power of social structures. It will argue that discursive structures can be causally significant when they are normatively endorsed and enforced by specific groups of people; that it is not discourse as such but these groups—discursive circles—that are causally effective; and that (...)
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  26. Michael Esfeld (2010). Humean Metaphysics Versus a Metaphysics of Powers. In Gerhard Ernst & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Time, Chance and Reduction: Philosophical Aspects of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. 119.
  27. Sharon R. Ford (2012). Objects, Discreteness, and Pure Power Theories: George Molnar’s Critique of Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties. [REVIEW] Metaphysica 13 (2):195-215.
    Sydney Shoemaker’s causal theory of properties is an important starting place for some contemporary metaphysical perspectives concerning the nature of properties. In this paper, I discuss the causal and intrinsic criteria that Shoemaker stipulates for the identity of genuine properties and relations, and address George Molnar’s criticism that holding both criteria presents an unbridgeable hypothesis in the causal theory of properties. The causal criterion requires that properties and relations contribute to the causal powers of objects if they are to be (...)
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  28. Sharon R. Ford (2007). An Analysis of Properties in John Heil’s "From an Ontological Point of View". In G. Romano & Malatesti (eds.), From an Ontological Point of View, Swif Philosophy of Mind Review, Symposium. Swif Philosophy of Mind Review.
    In this paper I argue that the requirement for the qualitative is theory-dependent, determined by the fundamental assumptions built into the ontology. John Heil’s qualitative, in its role as individuator of objects and powers, is required only by a theory that posits a world of distinct objects or powers. Does Heil’s ‘deep’ view of the world, such that there is only one powerful object require the qualitative as individuator of objects and powers? The answer depends on whether it is possible (...)
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  29. Christopher Evan Franklin (2014). Powers, Necessity, and Determinism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):225-229.
    Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum have argued that a theory of free will that appeals to a powers-based ontology is incompatible with causal determinism. This is a surprising conclusion since much recent work on the intersection of the metaphysics of powers and free will has consisted of attempts to defend compatibilism by appealing to a powers-based ontology. In response I show that their argument turns on an equivocation of ‘all events are necessitated’.
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  30. Luke Glynn (2012). Getting Causes From Powers, by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum. Mind 121 (484):1099-1106.
    In this book, Mumford and Anjum advance a theory of causation based on a metaphysics of powers. The book is for the most part lucidly written, and contains some interesting contributions: in particular on the (lack of) necessary connection between cause and effect and on the perceivability of the causal relation. I do, however, have reservations about some of the book’s central theses: in particular, that cause and effect are simultaneous, and that causes can fruitfully be represented as vectors.
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  31. Ruth Groff, Causal Mechanisms and the Philosophy of Causation.
  32. Ruth Groff, What Should a Powers-Based Theory of Free Will Be About?
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  33. Ruth Groff, Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.
    I argue that a powers-based metaphysics radically reconfigures the existing free will problematic. This is different from claiming that such an approach solves the ill-conceived problems that emerge from Humean-Kantian default commitments.
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  34. Ruth Groff (2012). Ontology Revisited: Metaphysics in Social and Political Philosophy. Routledge.
    Ontology. Revisited. Groff's argument cuts against a familiar anti-metaphysical grain. Social and political philosophy, she maintains, is not as metaphysically neutral as it may seem. Even the most deontological of theories connects up with a ...
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  35. Toby Handfield (2008). Humean Dispositionalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):113-126.
    Humean metaphysics is characterized by a rejection of necessary connections between distinct existences. Dispositionalists claim that there are basic causal powers. The existence of such properties is widely held to be incompatible with the Humean rejection of necessary connections. In this paper I present a novel theory of causal powers that vindicates the dispositionalist claim that causal powers are basic, without embracing brute necessary connections. The key assumptions of the theory are that there are natural types of causal processes, and (...)
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  36. Tobias Hansson (2006). Too Many Dispositional Properties. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):37-42.
    This paper identifies an overdetermination problem faced by the non-reductive dispositional property account of disposition ascriptions. Two possible responses to the problem are evaluated and both are shown to have serious drawbacks. Finally it is noted that the traditional conditional analysis of dispositional ascriptions escapes the original difficulty.
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  37. Andreas Hüttemann (2013). New Work in Metaphysics of Science. Metascience 22 (2):275-282.
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  38. Jonathan D. Jacobs, A Powers Theory of Causation.
    In this paper, my central aim is to defend the Powers Theory of causation, according to which causation is the exercise of a power (or manifestation of a disposition). I will do so by, first, presenting a recent version of the Powers Theory, that of Mumford (Forthcoming). Second, I will raise an objection to Mumford’s account. Third, I will offer a revised version that avoids the objection. And, fourth, I will end by briefly comparing the proposed Powers Theory with the (...)
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  39. Jonathan D. Jacobs (2011). Powerful Qualities, Not Pure Powers. The Monist 94 (1):81-102.
    I explore two accounts of properties within a dispositional essentialist (or causal powers) framework, the pure powers view and the powerful qualities view. I first attempt to clarify precisely what the pure powers view is, and then raise objections to it. I then present the powerful qualities view and, in order to avoid a common misconception, offer a restatement of it that I shall call the truthmaker view. I end by briefly defending the truthmaker view against objections.
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  40. Daisuke Kachi (2011). The Power of Holes. Ontology Meeting: A Supplementary Volume for 2011, February Meeting:7-11.
    Firstly I define a hole as a dependent matter-less endurant, which is a little modification of Casati and Varzi’s definition. Adopting this definition, holes seem to invite three problems about causation: (1)causal closure, (2)ungrounded disposition and (3)causal overdetermination. I will defend my definition against all these problems by showing that holes are limiting cases of physical endurants rather than their opposition and that they have causal powers in a broad sense.
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  41. Tuukka Kaidesoja (2007). Exploring the Concept of Causal Power in a Critical Realist Tradition. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):63–87.
    This article analyses and evaluates the uses of the concept of causal power in the critical realist tradition, which is based on Roy Bhaskar's philosophy of science. The concept of causal power that appears in the early works of Rom Harré and his associates is compared to Bhaskar's account of this concept and its uses in the critical realist social ontology. It is argued that the concept of emergence should be incorporated to any adequate notion of causal power. The concept (...)
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  42. Simon Kittle (forthcoming). Abilities to Do Otherwise. Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    In this paper I outline a number of features of intrinsic dispositions and abilities and discuss how these features are relevant to free will when the latter is understood as requiring the ability to do otherwise. In the first section I will argue that dispositions and abilities are properly characterised or defined not simply by a set of stimulus conditions and a manifestation type, but in addition by a set of circumstances (against which that manifestation is to be expected, given (...)
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  43. Baptiste Le Bihan (forthcoming). No Physical Particles for a Dispositional Monist? Philosophical Papers.
    A dispositional monist believes that all properties are essentially causal. Recently, an overdetermination argument has been proposed by Trenton Merricks to support nihilism about ordinary objects. I argue that this argument can be extended to target both nihilism about ordinary objects and nihilism about physical particles when dispositional monism is assumed. It implies that a philosopher who both endorses dispositional monism and takes seriously the overdetermination argument should not believe in the existence of physical particles. I end up by discussing (...)
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  44. Don Locke (1973). Natural Powers and Human Abilities. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74:171-187.
  45. Dustin Locke (2012). Quidditism Without Quiddities. Philosophical Studies 160 (3):345-363.
    Structuralism and quidditism are competing views of the metaphysics of property individuation: structuralists claim that properties are individuated by their nomological roles; quidditists claim that they are individuated by something else. This paper (1) refutes what many see as the best reason to accept structuralism over quidditism and (2) offers a methodological argument in favor of a quidditism. The standard charge against quidditism is that it commits us to something ontologically otiose: intrinsic aspects of properties, so-called ‘quiddities’. Here I grant (...)
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  46. Anna Marmodoro (forthcoming). Producing, Composing or Passing Around Powers. [REVIEW] Metascience.
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  47. Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.) (forthcoming). The Metaphysics of Relations. OUP.
    A collection of papers on ancient and contemporary approaches to the nature and ontological status of relations. Forthcoming in 2015. -/- Contributors: Theodore Scaltsas, Jeffrey Brower, Sydney Penner, Maureen Donnelly, Jonathan Lowe, Peter Simons, John Heil, David Yates, Nora Berenstain, James Ladyman, Sebastian Briceno, Stephen Mumford, Michael Esfeld, Mauro Dorato.
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  48. C. B. Martin (1997). On the Need for Properties: The Road to Pythagoreanism and Back. Synthese 112 (2):193-231.
    The development of a compositional model shows the incoherence of such notions as levels of being and both bottom-up and top-down causality. The mathematization of nature through the partial considerations of physics qua quantities is seen to lead to Pythagoreanism, if what is not included in the partial consideration is denied. An ontology of only probabilities, if not Pythagoreanism, is equivalent to a world of primitive dispositionalities. Problems are found with each. There is a need for properties as well as (...)
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  49. Olivier Massin (2009). The Metaphysics of Forces. Dialectica 64 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  50. Peter Menzies (forthcoming). Critical Notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties. Analysis.
    This book advocates dispositional essentialism, the view that natural properties have dispositional essences.1 So, for example, the essence of the property of being negatively charged is to be disposed to attract positively charged objects. From this fact it follows that it is a law that all negatively charged objects will attract positively 10 charged objects; and indeed that this law is metaphysically necessary. Since the identity of the property of being negatively charged is determined by its being related in a (...)
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