David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. 143--159 (2010)
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 them. But a set of causes, even though they may succeed in producing an effect, cannot necessitate it since the effect could have been counteracted by some additional power. This would require a separation of our concepts of causal production and causal necessitation. The most conspicuous cases of causation are those where powers accumulate and pass a requisite threshold for an effect to occur. We develop a model for representing powers as constituent vectors within an n-dimensional quality space, where composition of causes appears as vector addition. Even our resultant vector, however, has to be understood as having dispositional force only. This model throws new light on causal modality and cases of prevention, causation by absence and probabilistic causation.
|Keywords||Causation Powers Metaphysics Philosophy of Science|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2011). Dispositional Modality. In C. F. Gethmann (ed.), Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft, Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 2. Meiner Verlag.
Frank Hofmann (2007). Causal Powers, Realization, and Mental Causation. Erkenntnis 67 (2):173 - 182.
Robert K. Shope (1988). Powers, Causation, and Modality. Erkenntnis 28 (3):321 - 362.
Michael Esfeld (2007). Mental Causation and the Metaphysics of Causation. Erkenntnis 67 (2):207 - 220.
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.
Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2009). Double Prevention and Powers. Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
Peter Menzies & Christian List (2010). The Causal Autonomy of the Special Sciences. In Cynthia Mcdonald & Graham Mcdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2010-05-19
Total downloads554 ( #261 of 1,100,087 )
Recent downloads (6 months)119 ( #359 of 1,100,087 )
How can I increase my downloads?