Capacities, universality, and singularity

Philosophy of Science 64 (4):605-626 (1997)
In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.
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DOI 10.1086/392574
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Stuart Glennan (2002). Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Stuart Glennan (2005). Modeling Mechanisms. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):443-464.
Stuart Glennan (2010). Mechanisms, Causes, and the Layered Model of the World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):362-381.

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