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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Alexander Bird (2006). Looking for Laws. Metascience 15:441-54.
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Gabriele Contessa (forthcoming). Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to power theorists, all (fundamental, perfectly natural) properties (or at least all fundamental, perfectly natural properties that confer dispositions) are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although dispositional essentialism is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view that which 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 (...)
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  14. 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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  15. Troy Cross (forthcoming). Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW] Dialectica.
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  16. Troy Cross (2013). Review of Groff and Greco, Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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.
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  20. 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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  21. Sharon R. Ford (2007). An Analysis of Properties in John Heil’s "From an Ontological Point of View&Quot;. 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 (e.g. a field containing modes or properties which we perceive as manifest everyday objects) require the qualitative (...)
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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Andreas Hüttemann (2013). New Work in Metaphysics of Science. Metascience 22 (2):275-282.
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  26. 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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  27. Don Locke (1973). Natural Powers and Human Abilities. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74:171-187.
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  28. 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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  29. Anna Marmodoro (forthcoming). Producing, Composing or Passing Around Powers. [REVIEW] Metascience.
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  30. 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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  31. 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 rela- tions. 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 (...)
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  32. 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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  33. Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2013). A New Argument Against Compatibilism. Analysis (1):ant095.
    If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced: 1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powersTherefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say (...)
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  34. Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2011). Getting Causes From Powers. OUP Oxford.
    Causation is everywhere in the world: it features in every science and technology. But how much do we truly understand it? Do we know what it means to say that one thing is a cause of another and do we understand what in the world drives causation? Getting Causes from Powers develops a new and original theory of causation based on an ontology of real powers or dispositions. Others have already suggested that this ought to be possible, but no one (...)
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  35. Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2011). Spoils to the Vector - How to Model Causes If You Are a Realist About Powers. 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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  36. Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2010). A Powerful Theory of Causation. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. 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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  37. Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2009). Double Prevention and Powers. 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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  38. Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Infinite Power and Finite Powers. In Benedikt Paul Goecke & Christian Tapp (eds.), The Infinity of God: Scientific, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives. Notre Dame University Press.
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  39. Brian D. Prince (2013). Physical Change in Plato's Timaeus. Apeiron:1-19.
    In this paper I ask how Timaeus explains change within the trianglebased part of his cosmos. Two common views are that change among physical items is somehow caused or enabled by either the forms or the demiurge. I argue for a competing view, on which the physical items are capable of bringing about change by themselves, prior to the intervention of the demiurge, and prior to their being turned into imitations of the forms. I outline three problems for the view (...)
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  40. Nick Reeder (1995). Are Physical Properties Dispositions? Philosophy of Science 62 (1):141-149.
    Averill (1990) argues that not every property is a disposition. I claim here that his reasoning is faulty, suffering at one point from a logical error and at other points from an inadequate account of counterfactuals.
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  41. David Robb, Could Mental Causation Be Invisible?
    E.J. Lowe has recently proposed a model of mental causation on which mental events are emergent, thus exerting a novel, downward causal influence on physical events. Yet on Lowe's model, mental causation is at the same time empirically undetectable, and in this sense is "invisible". Lowe's model is ingenious, but I don't think emergentists should welcome it, for it seems to me that a primary virtue of emergentism is its bold empirical prediction about the long-term results of human physiology. Here (...)
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  42. David Robb (2007). Power Essentialism. Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):343-58.
    Press a square paperweight into a lump of soft clay. What results is a square impression. Could a circular impression have resulted instead? The answer seems to be No. In this paper, I take this and similar examples as evidence for power essentialism, the thesis that the powers bestowed by a property are essential to it. I spend most of the paper trying to answer a few arguments against the evidential value of such examples: (1) there is the appearance of (...)
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  43. Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra & Hallvard Lillehammer (eds.) (2003). Real Metaphysics. Routledge.
    Real Metaphysics brings together new articles by leading metaphysicians to honour Hugh Mellor's outstanding contribution to metaphysics. Some of the most outstanding minds of current times shed new light on all the main topics in metaphysics: truth, causation, dispositions and properties, explanation, and time. At the end of the book, Hugh Mellor responds to the issues raised by each of the thirteen contributors and gives us new insight into his own highly influential work on metaphysics.
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  44. Robert D. Rupert (2008). The Causal Theory of Properties and the Causal Theory of Reference, or How to Name Properties and Why It Matters. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):579 - 612.
    forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  45. Jonathan Schaffer (2010). The Internal Relatedness of All Things. Mind 119 (474):341 - 376.
    The argument from internal relatedness was one of the major nineteenth century neo-Hegelian arguments for monism. This argument has been misunderstood, and may even be sound. The argument, as I reconstruct it, proceeds in two stages: first, it is argued that all things are internally related in ways that render them interdependent; second, the substantial unity of the whole universe is inferred from the interdependence of all of its parts. The guiding idea behind the argument is that failure of free (...)
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  46. Jonathan Schaffer (2005). Quiddistic Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):1-32.
    Is the relation between properties and the causal powers they confer necessary, or contingent? Necessary, says Sydney Shoemaker, on pain of skepticism about the properties. Contingent, says David Lewis, swallowing the skeptical conclusion. I shall argue that Lewis is right about the metaphysics, but that Shoemaker and Lewis are wrong about the epistemology. Properties have intrinsic natures (quiddities), which we can know.
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  47. Markus Schrenk (2010). Hic Rhodos, Hic Salta: From Reductionist Semantics to a Realist Ontology of Forceful Dispositions. In G. Damschen, K. Stueber & R. Schnepf (eds.), Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. De Gruyter.
    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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  48. Aaron Segal (2014). Causal Essentialism and Mereological Monism. Philosophical Studies 169 (2):227-255.
    Several philosophers have recently defended Causal Essentialism—the view that every property confers causal powers, and whatever powers it confers, it confers essentially. I argue that on the face of it, Causal Essentialism implies a form of Monism, and in particular, the thesis I call ‘Mereological Monism’: that there is some concretum that is a part of every concretum. However, there are three escape routes, three views which are such that if one of them is true, Causal Essentialism does not imply (...)
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  49. Sydney Shoemaker (1980). Causality and Properties. In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel. 109-35.
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  50. Robert K. Shope (1988). Powers, Causation, and Modality. Erkenntnis 28 (3):321 - 362.
    A complex theory concerning powers, natures, and causal necessity has emerged from the writings of P. H. Hare, E. H. Madden, and R. Harré. In the course of rebutting objections that other critics have raised to the power account of causation, I correct three of its genuine difficulties: its attempt to analyze power attributions in terms of conditional statements; its characterization of the relation between something's powers and its nature; and its doctrines concerning conceptual necessity. The resulting interpretation of causal (...)
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