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  1. Dispositions and the Principle of Least Action Revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  2. Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.Ruth Groff - manuscript
    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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  3. Making Sense of Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort (...)
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  4. Tropes, Unmanifested Dispositions and Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    According to a well-known argument, originally due to David Armstrong, powers theory is objectionable, as it leads to a ‘Meinongian’ ontology on which some entities are real but do not actually exist. I argue here that the right conclusion to draw from this argument has thus far not been identified and that doing so has significant implications for powers theory. Specifically, I argue that the key consequence of the argument is that it provides substantial grounds for trope powers theorists, but (...)
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  5. Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - forthcoming - Dialectica.
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  6. The Identity Theory of Powers Revised.Joaquim Giannotti - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a (...)
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  7. The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Henrik Lagerlund & Benjamin Hill (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Powers, capacities and dispositions (in what follows I will use these terms synonymously) have become prominent in recent debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy. In this paper I will analyse in some detail a well-known argument from scientific practice to the existence of powers/capacities/dispositions. According to this argument the practice of extrapolating scientific knowledge from one kind of situation to a different kind of situation requires a specific interpretation of laws of nature, namely as attributing (...)
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  8. Artistic Objectivity: From Ruskin’s ‘Pathetic Fallacy’ to Creative Receptivity.Eli I. Lichtenstein - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics:ayaa041.
    While the idea of art as self-expression can sound old-fashioned, it remains widespread—especially if the relevant ‘selves’ can be social collectives, not just individual artists. But self-expression can collapse into individualistic or anthropocentric self-involvement. And compelling successor ideals for artists are not obvious. In this light, I develop a counter-ideal of creative receptivity to basic features of the external world, or artistic objectivity. Objective artists are not trying to express themselves or reach collective self-knowledge. However, they are also not disinterested (...)
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  9. Dispositional Monism and the Ontological Distinction Between Unmanifested and Manifested Powers.Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Ratio.
    The vast majority of metaphysicians agree that powers (in contrast to categorical properties) can exist unmanifested. This paper focuses on the ontological distinction between unmanifested and manifested powers underpinning that fact and has two main aims. First, to determine the proper relata of the distinction and second, to show that an unrestricted version of dispositional monism faces serious difficulties to accommodate it. As far as the first aim is concerned, it is argued that the distinction in question, in order to (...)
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  10. Challenging the Identity Theory of Properties.Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Synthese.
    The Identity Theory of properties is an increasingly popular metaphysical view that aims to be a middle way between pure powerism and pure categoricalism. This paper’s goal is to highlight three major difficulties that IDT should address in order to be a plausible account of the nature of properties. First, although IDT needs a clear definition of the notion of qualitativity which is both adequate and compatible with the tenets of the theory, all the extant proposals fail to provide such (...)
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  11. Critical Notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Peter Menzies - forthcoming - 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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  12. Could Mental Causation Be Invisible?David Robb - forthcoming - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), The Metaphysics of E.J. Lowe. Oxford University Press.
    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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  13. The Senses of Touch and Movement and the Argument for Active Powers.Roger Smith - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
  14. Grounding Theories of Powers.Matthew Tugby - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    Necessitarianism, as we shall use the term, is the view that natural properties and causal powers are necessarily connected in some way. In recent decades the most popular forms of necessitarianism have been the anti-Humean powers-based theories of properties, such as dispositional essentialism and the identity theory. These versions of necessitarianism have come under fire in recent years and I believe it is time for necessitarians to develop a new approach. In this paper I identify unexplored ways of positing metaphysically (...)
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  15. Powers, Processes, and Time.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    In this paper I argue that even the most radical metaphysics of powers (such as that adopted by Mumford & Anjum, Cartwright, or Groff) are compatible with eternalism. I first offer a taxonomy of powers ontologies, and attempt to characterise the difference between moderate and radical powers ontologies – the latter are characterised by an emphasis on production and dynamicity. I consider an argument by C. Friebe to the effect that the productive character of powers is inconsistent with Eternalism and (...)
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  16. Formal Causes for Powers Theorists.Giacomo Giannini & Stephen Mumford - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 87-106.
    In this paper we examine whether and how powers ontologies can back formal causation. We attempt to answer three questions: i) what is formal causation; ii) whether we need formal causation, and iii) whether formal causation need powers and whether it can be grounded in powers. We take formal causal explanations to be explanations in which something's essence features prominently in the explanans. Three kinds of essential explanations are distinguished: constitutive, consequential, and those singling out something's propria. This last kind (...)
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  17. Pure Powers Are Not Powerful Qualities.Joaquim Giannotti - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (1):(A2)5-29.
    There is no consensus on the most adequate conception of the fundamental properties of our world. The pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities claim to be promising alternatives to categoricalism, the view that all fundamental properties essentially contribute to the qualitative make-up of things that have them. The pure powers view holds that fundamental properties essentially empower things that have them with a distinctive causal profile. On the identity theory, fundamental properties are dispositional as well as (...)
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  18. A Powerful Particulars View of Causation.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2021 - New York: Routledge.
    This book critically examines the recent discussions of powers and powers-based accounts of causation. The author then develops an original view of powers-based causation that aims to be compatible with the theories and findings of natural science. Recently, there has been a dramatic revival of realist approaches to properties and causation, which focus on the relevance of Aristotelian metaphysics and the notion of powers for a scientifically informed view of causation. In this book, R.D. Ingthorsson argues that one central feature (...)
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  19. Masks, Interferers, Finks, and Mimickers: A Novel Approach.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Theoria:1-24.
    Masks, interferers, finks, reverse finks, and mimickers are troublesome for powers metaphysics insofar as the latter concedes that there are powers with essential stimuli/activation conditions. In this article, I aim at offering a novel approach for solving this problem. In Section 1, I shall present the problem; and in Section 2, I shall briefly show how it also arises within non‐reductive views of powers. Subsequently, in Section 3, I shall examine the failure of the ceteris paribus solution. The pars construens (...)
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  20. Functional Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 124-148.
    I introduce functional powers, i.e., causal powers that play the role of functions. In the first section, I characterize functions and present some desiderata for a good theory of functions. In the second section, I make some assumptions about the ontology of powers, teleology and structures-that will be helpful in order to ground my account of functional powers. In the third section, sixteen different types of functional powers are examined. All such types of functional powers will exhaustively contribute to performing (...)
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  21. Contemporary Hylomorphisms: On the Matter of Form.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy Today 2 (2):113-144.
    As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...)
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  22. New Powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2020 - Synthese (ST: New Foundations for Disposit):1-30.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  23. Introduction: Mental Powers.Matteo Grasso & Anna Marmodoro - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1017-1020.
    The metaphysics of powers (Shoemaker, 1980; Mumford, 2004; Marmodoro, 2009; Heil, 2012 among many others) is a promising conceptual framework that has been successfully put to use in many philosophical and scientific domains, but surprisingly its potential applications in the contemporary philosophy of mind are still under-investigated. This thematic issue aims to show that power ontology has implications concerning major questions in the contemporary philosophy of mind, such as: what is the metaphysical relationship between consciousness and the physical? Are phenomenal (...)
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  24. Causal Powers and Social Ontology.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1357-1377.
    Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the paper by offering a diagnosis of why philosophers and social scientists have been tempted to think that there are powers in (...)
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  25. Powers, Dispositions and Laws of Nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  26. Belief as the Power to Judge.Nicholas Koziolek - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1167-1176.
    A number of metaphysicians of powers have argued that we need to distinguish the actualization of a power from the effects of that actualization. This distinction, I argue, has important consequences for the dispositional theory of belief. In particular, it suggests that dispositionalists have in effect been trying to define belief, not in terms of its actualization, but instead in terms of the effects of its actualization. As a general rule, however, powers are to be defined in terms of their (...)
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  27. Soft Selling a Powers-Friendly Ontology: N. E. Williams: The Powers Metaphysic. Oxford: OUP, 2019, 266 Pp, £55.00 HB. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metascience 29 (2):341-344.
  28. Dispositional Pluralism. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (281):881-883.
    Dispositional Pluralism. By McKitrick Jennifer.
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  29. Powerful Qualities Beyond Identity Theory.Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (2):279-295.
    Until recently, the powerful qualities view about properties has been effectively identified with the so-called identity theory. Yet, the difficulties that the latter faces have led some metaphysicians to propose new versions of the powerful qualities view. This paper discusses the prospects of three such versions: the compound view, the higher-order properties theory and the dual aspect account. It is argued that the compound view is in fact property dualism in disguise, while the higher-order properties theory does not by itself (...)
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  30. Emergent Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1031-1044.
    I shall introduce at the beginning of the paper a characterization of strong ontological emergence. According to it, roughly, something strongly emerges from some other thing iff the former depends in some respect on the latter and it some independent of it in some other respect. Afterwards, I shall present my own formulation of strong emergence, which is based on the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a causal power. Causal powers are the entities to be primarily (...)
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  31. Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  32. Hume's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Physical Science.Matias Kimi Slavov - 2020 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This book contextualizes David Hume's philosophy of physical science, exploring both Hume's background in the history of early modern natural philosophy and its subsequent impact on the scientific tradition.
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  33. Agency as a Two-Way Power: A Defence.Helen Steward - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):342-355.
    This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...)
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  34. Free Will and Mental Powers.Niels van Miltenburg & Dawa Ometto - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1155-1165.
    In this paper, we investigate how contemporary metaphysics of powers can further an understanding of agent-causal theories of free will. The recent upsurge of such ontologies of powers and the understanding of causation it affords promises to demystify the notion of an agent-causal power. However, as we argue pace, the very ubiquity of powers also poses a challenge to understanding in what sense exercises of an agent’s power to act could still be free—neither determined by external circumstances, nor random, but (...)
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  35. Perceiving Potentiality: A Metaphysics for Affordances.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1177-1191.
    According to ecological psychology, animals perceive not just the qualities of things in their environment, but their affordances: in James Gibson’s words, ’what things furnish, for good or ill’. I propose a metaphysics for affordances that fits into a contemporary anti-Humean metaphysics of powers or potentialities. The goal is to connect two debates, one in the philosophy of perception and one in metaphysics, that stand to gain much from each other.
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  36. Replies.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiries 1 (8):199-222.
    This paper responds to the contributions by Alexander Bird, Nathan Wildman, David Yates, Jennifer McKitrick, Giacomo Giannini & Matthew Tugby, and Jennifer Wang. I react to their comments on my 2015 book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, and in doing so expands on some of the arguments and ideas of the book.
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  37. A Strange Kind of Power: Vetter on the Formal Adequacy of Dispositionalism.David Yates - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiries 8 (1):97-116.
    According to dispositionalism about modality, a proposition <p> is possible just in case something has, or some things have, a power or disposition for its truth; and <p> is necessary just in case nothing has a power for its falsity. But are there enough powers to go around? In Yates (2015) I argued that in the case of mathematical truths such as <2+2=4>, nothing has the power to bring about their falsity or their truth, which means they come out both (...)
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  38. Expanding the Vector Model for Dispositionalist Approaches to Causation.Joseph Baltimore - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5083-5098.
    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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  39. The Powers View of Properties, Fundamental Ontology, and Williams’s Arguments for Static Dispositions.Joseph Baltimore - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):437-453.
    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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  40. Unity, Ontology, and the Divine Mind.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (3):319-333.
    In his landmark book on philosophical theology, Saving God: Religion After Idolatry, Mark Johnston develops a panentheistic metaphysic of the divine that he contends is compatible with ontological naturalism. On his view, God is the universe, but the ‘is’ is the ‘is’ of constitution, not identity. The universe and God are coinciding objects that share properties but have different essential modal properties and, hence, different persistence conditions. In this paper, I address the problem of accounting for what it is about (...)
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  41. Essence and the Inference Problem.Ashley Coates - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):915-931.
    Discussions about the nature of essence and about the inference problem for non-Humean theories of nomic modality have largely proceeded independently of each other. In this article I argue that the right conclusions to draw about the inference problem actually depend significantly on how best to understand the nature of essence. In particular, I argue that this conclusion holds for the version of the inference problem developed and defended by Alexander Bird. I argue that Bird’s own argument that this problem (...)
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  42. Powerful Qualities or Pure Powers?Gabriele Contessa - 2019 - Metaphysica 20 (1):5-33.
    This paper explores the debate between those philosophers who take (fundamental, perfectly natural) properties to be pure powers and those who take them to be powerful qualities. I first consider two challenges for the view that properties are powerful qualities, which I call, respectively, ‘the clarification challenge’ and ‘the explanatory challenge’. I then examine a number of arguments that aim to show that properties cannot be pure powers and find them all wanting. Finally, I sketch what I take to be (...)
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  43. Power and Influence: The Metaphysics of Reductive Explanation.Richard Corry - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    The world is a complex place, and this complexity is an obstacle to our attempts to explain, predict, and control it. In Power and Influence, Richard Corry investigates the assumptions that are built into the reductive method of explanation—the method whereby we deal with complexity by studying the components of a complex system in relative isolation and use the information so gained to explain or predict the behaviour of the complex whole. He investigates the metaphysical presuppositions built into the reductive (...)
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  44. Active Powers and Passive Powers – Do Causal Interactions Require Both?Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (5):1603-1612.
    Many powers metaphysicians postulate both active and passive powers, understood as distinct kinds of intrinsic causal properties of objects. I argue that the category of passive power is superfluous. I also offer a diagnosis of how philosophers are misled to postulate passive powers.
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  45. Dispositional and Categorical Properties, and Russellian Monism.Eric Hiddleston - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):65-92.
    This paper has two main aims. The first is to present a general approach for understanding “dispositional” and “categorical” properties; the second aim is to use this approach to criticize Russellian Monism. On the approach I suggest, what are usually thought of as “dispositional” and “categorical” properties are really just the extreme ends of a spectrum of options. The approach allows for a number of options between these extremes, and it is plausible, I suggest, that just about everything of scientific (...)
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  46. Presentism and Cross-Time Relations.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2019 - In Patrick Blackburn, Per Hasle & Peter Ohrstrom (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Time: Further Themes from Prior, Vol. 2. Aalborg, Denmark: pp. 53–72.
    This paper is a partial defence of presentism against the argument from cross-time relations. It is argued, first, that the Aristotelian view of causation and persistence does not really depict these phenomena in terms of relations between entities existing at different times, and indeed excludes the possibility of such cross-time relations obtaining. Second, it is argued that to reject the existence of the past—and thereby be unable to ground the truth of claims about the past—does not lead to any absurd (...)
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  47. Mario Bunge and the Current Revival of Causal Realism.Rögnvaldur D. Ingthorsson - 2019 - In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 205–217.
    Mario Bunge’s Causality and Modern Science is arguably one of the best treatments of the causal realist tradition ever to have been written, one that defends the place of causality as a category in the conceptual framework of modern science. And yet in the current revival of causal realism in contemporary metaphysics, there is very little awareness of Bunge’s work. This paper seeks to remedy this, by highlighting one particular criticism Bunge levels at the Aristotelian view of causation and illustrating (...)
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  48. Welche Fähigkeiten gäbe es in einer deterministischen Welt?Geert Keil - 2019 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 73 (1):5-28.
    In a recent paper, Romy Jaster and Ansgar Beckermann have added a new twist to the traditional debate about the compatibility of free will with determinism. They wonder whether the abilities required for free will are compatible with determinism. According to a view that Helen Steward dubbed »agency incompatibilism«, there could be no actions and no agential powers if determinism were true. Against my advocacy of agency incompatibilism, Jaster and Beckermann argue that only a very specific kind of abilities is (...)
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  49. Powerful Substances Because of Powerless Powers.Davis Kuykendall - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):339-356.
    I argue that the debate between proponents of substance causation and proponents of causation by powers, as to whether substances or their powers are causes, hinges on whether or not powers are self-exemplifying or non-self-exemplifying properties. Substance causation is committed to powers being non-self-exemplifying properties while causation by powers is committed to powers being self-exemplifying properties. I then argue that powers are non-self-exemplifying properties, in support of substance causation.
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  50. Introduction to the Special Issue on Form, Structure and Hylomorphism.Anna Marmodoro & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2019 - Synthese:1-10.
    We summarize in this introduction the contents of all the contributions included in Synthese special issue on form, structure and hylomorphism. Moreover, we provide an exhaustive bibliography of recent research on these topics.
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