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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  4. Is Dispositional Causation Just Mutual Manifestation?Christopher J. Austin - 2016 - Ratio 29 (3):235-248.
    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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  5. Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo.Christopher J. Austin & Laura Nuño de la Rosa - 2018 - In Laura Nuño de la Rosa & G. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    In identifying intrinsic molecular chance and extrinsic adaptive pressures as the only causally relevant factors in the process of evolution, the theoretical perspective of the Modern Synthesis had a major impact on the perceived tenability of an ontology of dispositional properties. However, since the late 1970s, an increasing number of evolutionary biologists have challenged the descriptive and explanatory adequacy of this “chance alone, extrinsic only” understanding of evolutionary change. Because morphological studies of homology, convergence, and teratology have revealed a space (...)
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  6. Expanding the Vector Model for Dispositionalist Approaches to Causation.Joseph A. Baltimore - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Neuron diagrams are heavily employed in academic discussions of causation. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum, however, offer an alternative approach employing vector diagrams, which this paper attempts to develop further. I identify three ways in which dispositionalists have taken the activities of powers to be related: stimulation, mutual manifestation, and contribution combination. While Mumford and Anjum do provide resources for representing contribution combination, which might be sufficient for their particular brand of dispositionalism, I argue that those resources are not (...)
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  7. The Powers View of Properties, Fundamental Ontology, and Williams’s Arguments for Static Dispositions.Joseph A. Baltimore - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    This paper examines the need for static dispositions within the basic ontology of the powers view of properties. To lend some focus, Neil Williams’s well developed case for static dispositions is considered. While his arguments are not necessarily intended to address fundamental ontology, they still provide a useful starting point, a springboard for diving into the deeper metaphysical waters of the dispositionalist approach. Within that ontological context, this paper contends that Williams’s arguments fail to establish the need to posit static (...)
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  8. Van Helmont’s Hybrid Ontology and its Influence on the Chemical Interpretation of Spirit and Ferment.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2016 - Foundations of Chemistry 18 (2):103-112.
    This essay proposes to discuss the manner in which Jan Baptista van Helmont helped to transform the Neoplatonic notions of vital spirit and of ferment by giving these notions an unambiguously chemical interpretation, thereby influencing the eventual naturalization of these ideas in the work of late seventeenth century chymists. This chemical interpretation of vital spirit and ferment forms part of Helmont’s hybrid ontology, which fuses a corpuscular conception of minima naturalia with a non-corporeal conception of semina rerum. For Helmont, chemical (...)
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  9. Powers and the Pantheistic Problem of Unity.William A. Bauer - forthcoming - Sophia:1-18.
    If the universe and God are identical, as pantheism holds, how can we reconcile the supposed unity of God with the apparent dis-unity of the universe’s elements? I argue that a powers ontology, which generates a form of pantheism under plausible assumptions, is apt to solve the problem of unity. There is reason to think that the directedness of powers is equivalent to the directedness, or intentionality, of mental states. This implies that intentionality is a feature of the physical world (...)
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  10. Introduction.Matteo Bianchin & Italo Testa - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:3-6.
    Introduction to a Forum on Michael's Thompson "Life and Action".
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  11. The Dispositionalist Conception of Laws.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):353-70.
    This paper sketches a dispositionalist conception of laws and shows how the dispositionalist should respond to certain objections. The view that properties are essentially dispositional is able to provide an account of laws that avoids the problems that face the two views of laws (the regularity and the contingent nomic necessitation views) that regard properties as categorical and laws as contingent. I discuss and reject the objections that (i) this view makes laws necessary whereas they are contingent; (ii) this view (...)
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  12. Un mondo di possibilità. Realismo modale senza mondi possibili.Andrea Borghini - 2004 - Rivista di Estetica 26 (2):87-100.
    While preparing my suitcase for Padua, I took care to put my favorite cds in a secured spot since they could have broken along the way. Which (non-mental) fact, if any, could possibly justify my action – i.e. what, if anything, makes it the case that my cds could have broken? The paper explores the nature of possibility. The three theories most widely endorsed thus far – fictionism, actualism, and modal realism – are introduced, with a particular attention to their (...)
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  13. A Critique of Substance Causation.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1019-1026.
    In her recent paper, “A Defense of Substance Causation,” Ann Whittle makes a case for substance causation. In this paper, assuming that causation is a generative or productive relation, I argue that Whittle’s argument is not successful. While substances are causally relevant in causal processes owing to outcomes being counterfactually dependent upon their role in such occurrences, the real productive work in causal processes is accomplished by the causal powers of substances.
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  14. How Does Agent-­‐Causal Power Work?Andrei A. Buckareff - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):105-121.
    Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-­‐causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense. In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-­‐causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-­‐causalism developed and defended by Timothy O’Connor’s in (...)
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  15. Dispositions: An Integrational Analysis.Daihyun Chung - forthcoming - Diogenes:59-70.
    Whereas the Humean accounts of causality in terms of contiguity, temporal priority, constant conjunction, and contingency face difficulties of one sort, the dispositional explanations of causality in terms of reciprocity, simultaneity, ubiquity, and holism seem to meet difficulties of another sort. But the difficulties which dispositionalism faces may be dissipated if one can appeal consistently to the logic of naturalism, rather than to the grammar of an implicit dualism, for example, as it is illustrated when G. Molnar tried to advance (...)
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  16. Free Will and Abilities to Act.Randolph Clarke - forthcoming - In Streit um die Freiheit: Philosophische und theologische Beiträge. Paderborn: Schoeningh/Brill.
    This paper examines the view of abilities to act advanced by Kadri Vihvelin in Causes, Laws, and Free Will. Vihvelin argues that (i) abilities of an important kind are “structurally” like dispositions such as fragility; (ii) ascriptions of dispositions can be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals; (iii) ascriptions of abilities of the kind in question can be analyzed similarly; and (iv) we have the free will we think we have by having abilities of this kind and being in circumstances (...)
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  17. Responsibility, Mechanisms, and Capacities.Randolph Clarke - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):161-169.
    Frankfurt-style cases are supposed to show that an agent can be responsible for doing something even though the agent wasn’t able to do otherwise. Neil Levy has argued that the cases fail. Agents in such cases, he says, lack a capacity that they’d have to have in order to be responsible for doing what they do. Here it’s argued that Levy is mistaken. Although it may be that agents in Frankfurt-style cases lack some kind of capability, what they lack isn’t (...)
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  18. Dispositions, Abilities to Act, and Free Will: The New Dispositionalism.Randolph Clarke - 2009 - Mind 118 (470):323-351.
    This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the main points (...)
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  19. Free Will and Agential Powers.Randolph Clarke & Thomas Reed - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Moral Responsibility 3:6-33.
    Free will is often said—by compatibilists and incompatibilists alike—to be a power (or complex of powers) of agents. This paper offers proposals for, and examines the prospects of, a powers-conception of free will that takes the powers in question to be causal dispositions. A difficulty for such an account stems from the idea that when one exercises free will, it is up to oneself whether one wills to do this or that. The paper also briefly considers whether a powers-conception that (...)
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  20. Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions.Gabriele Contessa - 2015 - 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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  21. Retrocausal Models for EPR.Richard Corry - 2015 - Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:1-9.
    This paper takes up Huw Price׳s challenge to develop a retrocausal toy model of the Bell-EPR experiment. I develop three such models which show that a consistent, local, hidden-variables interpretation of the EPR experiment is indeed possible, and which give a feel for the kind of retrocausation involved. The first of the models also makes clear a problematic feature of retrocausation: it seems that we cannot interpret the hidden elements of reality in a retrocausal model as possessing determinate dispositions to (...)
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  22. How is Scientific Analysis Possible?Richard Corry - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;.
    One of the most powerful tools in science is the analytic method, whereby we seek to understand complex systems by studying simpler sub-systems from which the complex is composed. If this method is to be successful, something about the sub-systems must remain invariant as we move from the relatively isolated conditions in which we study them, to the complex conditions in which we want to put our knowledge to use. This paper asks what this invariant could be. The paper shows (...)
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  23. Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - forthcoming - Dialectica.
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  24. Review of Groff and Greco, Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  25. Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind.Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.) - 2009 - 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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  26. The Spontaneousness of Skill and the Impulsivity of Habit.Christos Douskos - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The objective of this paper is to articulate a distinction between habit and bodily skill as different ways of acting without deliberation. I start by elaborating on a distinction between habit and skill as different kinds of dispositions. Then I argue that this distinction has direct implications for the varieties of automaticity exhibited in habitual and skilful bodily acts. The argument suggests that paying close attention to the metaphysics of agency can help to articulate more precisely questions regarding the varieties (...)
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  27. On Causation: With Special Reference to Hume.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    Hume was correct in his critique of causation as understood by the New Science, a critique deadly to both causal and scientific realism. Getting beyond Hume's critique of causation requires that we call into question the New Science's understanding of causation and replace it with a Neo-Aristotelian account of causal processes. In this paper, I try to point the way to such an account.
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  28. Reasons, Dispositions, and Value.Aaron P. Elliott - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    In this paper, I will discuss an objection to Buck-Passing accounts of value, such as Reasons Fundamentalism. Buck-Passing views take value to be derivative of or reducible to reasons. The objection is that since there can be value in possible worlds in which there are no reasons, value must not be ontologically derivative of reasons. Thus, BP is false. In this paper, I show that by accepting a dispositionalist revision, BP can allow such worlds while maintaining that reasons are interestingly (...)
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  29. Handbook of Potentiality.Kristina Engelhard & Michael Quante (eds.) - forthcoming - Springer.
    This volume congregates articles of leading philosophers about potentials and potentiality in all areas of philosophy and the empirical sciences in which they play a relevant role. It is the first encompassing collection of articles on the metaphysics of potentials and potentiality.
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  30. Mary Shepherd on Causal Necessity.Jeremy Fantl - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (1):87-108.
    Lady Mary Shepherd’s critique of Hume’s account of causation, his worries about knowledge of matters of fact, and the contention that it is possible for the course of nature to spontaneously change relies primarily on three premises, two of which – that objects are merely bundles of qualities and that the qualities of an object are individuated by the causal powers contributed by those qualities – anticipate contemporary metaphysical views in ways that she should be getting credit for. The remaining (...)
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  31. Dispositions and Habituals.Michael Fara - 2005 - Noûs 39 (1):43–82.
    Objects have dispositions. As Nelson Goodman put it, “a thing is full of threats and promises”. But sometimes those threats go unfulfilled, and the promises unkept. Sometimes the dispositions of objects fail to manifest themselves, even when their conditions of manifestation obtain. Pieces of wood, disposed to burn when heated, do not burn when heated in a vacuum chamber. And pastries, disposed to go bad when left lying around too long, won’t do so if coated with lacquer and put on (...)
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  32. Getting Causes From Powers, by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum. [REVIEW]Luke Glynn - 2012 - 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 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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  33. D. H. MELLOR The Matter of Chance.Luke Glynn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):899-906.
    Though almost forty years have elapsed since its first publication, it is a testament to the philosophical acumen of its author that 'The Matter of Chance' contains much that is of continued interest to the philosopher of science. Mellor advances a sophisticated propensity theory of chance, arguing that this theory makes better sense than its rivals (in particular subjectivist, frequentist, logical and classical theories) of ‘what professional usage shows to be thought true of chance’ (p. xi) – in particular ‘that (...)
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  34. The Dispositional Nature of Phenomenal Properties.Simone Gozzano - forthcoming - Topoi:1-11.
    According to non-reductive physicalism, mental properties of the phenomenal sort are essentially different from physical properties, and cannot be reduced to them. This being a quarrel about properties, I draw on the categorical / dispositional distinction to discuss this non-reductive claim. Typically, non-reductionism entails a categorical view of phenomenal properties. Contrary to this, I will argue that phenomenal properties, usually characterized by what it is like to have them, are mainly the manifestation of dispositional properties. This paper is thus divided (...)
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  35. Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science.Ruth Groff (ed.) - 2008 - Routledge.
    This cutting edge collection of new and previously published articles by philosophers and social scientists addresses just what it means to invoke causal ...
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  36. Objects, Dispositions and Lockean Person-Making Properties.Mihretu P. Guta - 2016 - APPRAISAL The Journal of the British Personalist Forum 11 (1):4-11. The Boston Issue...
    This paper examines certain influential contemporary philosophical analyses of the notion of a person and show why they are misguided. Inspired by the Lockean conception of a person, some philosophers claim that personhood must be attributed only to those human beings who can meet certain criteria required for it. Here the views of Tooley, Dennett and Singer will be discussed against the backdrop of the metaphysics of powers ontology as advocated by contemporary philosophers: C. B. Martin, John Heil and others.
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  37. The Metaphysics of Dispositions and Causes.Toby Handfield - 2009 - In Dispositions and Causes. Clarendon Press. pp. 1--30.
    This article gives a general overview of recent metaphysical work on dispositional properties and causal relations. It serves as an introduction to the edited volume, Dispositions and Causes.
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  38. Meso-Level Objects, Powers, and Simultaneous Causation.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2017 - Metaphysica 18 (1).
    I argue that Mumford and Anjum’s recent theory of simultaneous causation among powerful meso-level objects is problematic in several respects: it is based on a false dichotomy, it is incompatible with standard meso-level physics, it is explanatory deficient, and it threatens to render the powers metaphysics incoherent. Powers theorists are advised, therefore, to adopt a purely sequential conception of causation.
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  39. Dispositions.John Heil - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):343-356.
    Appeals to dispositionality in explanations of phenomena in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, require that we first agree on what we are talking about. I sketch an account of what dispositionality might be. That account will place me at odds with most current conceptions of dispositionality. My aim is not to establish a weighty ontological thesis, however, but to move the discussion ahead in two respects. First, I want to call attention to the extent to which assumptions philosophers have (...)
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  40. Two Types of Quidditism.Tyler Hildebrand - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):516-532.
    According to structuralism, all natural properties are individuated by their roles in causal/nomological structures. According to quidditism, at least some natural properties are individuated in some other way. Because these theses deal with the identities of natural properties, this distinction cuts to the core of a serious metaphysical dispute: Are the intrinsic natures of all natural properties essentially causal/nomological in character? I'll argue that the answer is ‘no’, or at least that this answer is more plausible than many critics of (...)
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  41. Laws and Dispositions.Andreas Hüttemann - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (1):121-135.
    Laws are supposed to tell us how physical systems actually behave. The analysis of an important part of physical practice--abstraction--shows, however, that laws describe the behavior of physical systems under very special circumstances, namely when they are isolated. Nevertheless, laws are applied in cases of non-isolation as well. This practice requires an explanation. It is argued that one has to assume that physical systems have dispositions. I take these to be innocuous from an empiricist's standpoint because they can--at least in (...)
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  42. Potentiality in Biology.Andreas Hüttemann & Marie I. Kaiser - forthcoming - In K. Engelhardt & M. Quante (eds.), Handbook of Potentiality. Springer.
    We take the potentialities that are studied in the biological sciences (e.g., totipotency) to be an important subtype of biological dispositions. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, we want to provide a detailed understanding of what biological dispositions are. We claim that two features are essential for dispositions in biology: the importance of the manifestation process and the diversity of conditions that need to be satisfied for the disposition to be manifest. Second, we demonstrate that the concept of (...)
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  43. A Gradual Reformation: Empirical Character and Causal Powers in Kant.Jonas Jervell Indregard - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (5):662-683.
    According to Kant each person has an empirical character, which is ultimately grounded in one’s free choice. The popular Causal Laws interpretation of empirical character holds that it consists of the causal laws governing our psychology. I argue that this reading has difficulties explaining moral change, the ‘gradual reformation’ of our empirical character: Causal laws cannot change and hence cannot be gradually reformed. I propose an alternative Causal Powers interpretation of empirical character, where our empirical character consists of our mind’s (...)
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  44. The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):529-541.
    The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird's and George Molnar's attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It (...)
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  45. Properties: Qualities, Powers, or Both?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):55-80.
    Powers are popularly assumed to be distinct from, and dependent upon, inert qualities, mainly because it is believed that qualities have their nature independently of other properties while powers have their nature in virtue of a relation to distinct manifestation property. George Molnar and Alexander Bird, on the other hand, characterize powers as intrinsic and relational. The difficulties of reconciling the characteristics of being intrinsic and at the same time essentially related are illustrated in this paper and it is argued (...)
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  46. Recognition as Passive Power: Attractors of Recognition, Biopower, and Social Power.Testa Italo - 2017 - Constellations 24 (2):192-205.
    In this paper I analyze recognition as a kind of power. I analyze the notion of power in the general sense as some sort of causal capacity, and introduce the distinction between the active power of doing something and the passive power of undergoing something. Such a distinction is needed in order to capture some central features of the phenomenon of recognition, and in particular the way that ‘being recognized’ and ‘recognizing’ are intertwined. I then argue in favor of both (...)
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  47. Tendencies and Other Realizables in Medical Information Sciences.Ludger Jansen - 2007 - The Monist 90 (4):534-554.
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  48. Dispositionen in der Metaphysik der Wissenschaften.Romy Jaster & Barbara Vetter - 2012 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 66 (3):429-447.
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  49. Disposition Impossible.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):732-753.
  50. Dispositions, Causes, Persistence As Is, and General Relativity.Joel Katzav - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):41-57.
    I argue that, on a dispositionalist account of causation and indeed on any other view of causation according to which causation is a real relation, general relativity does not give causal principles a role in explaining phenomena. In doing so, I bring out a surprisingly substantial constraint on adequate views about the explanations and ontology of GR, namely the requirement that such views show how GR can explain motion that is free of disturbing influences.
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