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  1. added 2020-05-21
    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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  2. added 2020-05-05
    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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  3. added 2020-04-17
    Dispositional Pluralism. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
  4. added 2020-04-17
    Soft Selling a Powers-Friendly Ontology. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
  5. added 2020-02-24
    Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws.Heather Demarest - 2017 - In Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.), Causal Powers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-53.
    I argue that the best scientific package is anti-Humean in its ontology, but Humean in its laws. This is because potencies and the best system account of laws complement each other surprisingly well. If there are potencies, then the BSA is the most plausible account of the laws of nature. Conversely, if the BSA is the correct theory of laws, then formulating the laws in terms of potencies rather than categorical properties avoids three serious objections: the mismatch objection, the impoverished (...)
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  6. added 2020-02-11
    Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.M. Fara - 2005 - Mind 114 (454):435-438.
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  7. added 2019-11-18
    Unity, Ontology, and the Divine Mind.Andrei 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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  8. added 2019-11-02
    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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  9. added 2019-10-31
    Introduction: Mental Powers.Matteo Grasso & Anna Marmodoro - forthcoming - Topoi:1-4.
    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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  10. added 2019-10-28
    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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  11. added 2019-10-25
    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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  12. added 2019-09-30
    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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  13. added 2019-09-27
    Perceiving Potentiality: A Metaphysics for Affordances.Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Topoi:1-15.
    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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  14. added 2019-09-27
    A Plenitude of Powers.Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Dispositionalism about modality is the view that metaphysical modality is a matter of the dispositions possessed by actual objects. In a recent paper, David Yates has raised an important worry about the formal adequacy of dispositionalism. This paper responds to Yates’s worry by developing a reply that Yates discusses briefly but dismisses as ad hoc: an appeal to a ’plenitude of powers’ including such powers as the necessarily always manifested power for \ to be 4. I argue that the reply (...)
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  15. added 2019-09-27
    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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  16. added 2019-09-20
    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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  17. added 2019-09-12
    Mario Bunge and the Current Revival of Causal Realism.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2019 - In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. Cham: 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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  18. added 2019-08-25
    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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  19. added 2019-06-21
    Inessential Aristotle: Powers Without Essences.Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - In Ruth Groff (ed.), Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 153-162.
    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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  20. added 2019-06-06
    Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum, Getting Causes From Powers , Xvi + 272pp., £36.Julia Weckend - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):115-121.
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Causal Powers. A Theory of Natural Necessity. [REVIEW]B. W. A. - 1976 - Review of Metaphysics 29 (4):735-736.
    This provocative but persuasive book is essentially a radical attack upon the Humean conception of causality and the presentation and defense of a counter-theory, closer to everyday experience and pre-Humean traditional views. As formulated by empiricist philosophers, the Humean approach depends on two basic postulates. The philosophical analysis of any non-empirical concept must be a formal explication; any residue elements have to be accounted for in terms of their psychological origins. The world as experienced can be conceived adequately as a (...)
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    X—Natural Powers and Human Abilities.Don Locke - 1973 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74 (1):171-187.
  23. added 2019-06-06
    "Function, Purpose and Powers" By Dorothy Emmet. [REVIEW]J. A. Mack - 1960 - Philosophical Quarterly 10 (41):364.
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  24. added 2019-06-05
    Causal Powers.Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    We use concepts of causal powers and their relatives-dispositions, capacities, and abilities-to describe the world around us, both in everyday life and in scientific practice. This volume presents new work on the nature of causal powers, and their connections with other phenomena within metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind.
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  25. added 2019-06-05
    Principalities, Powers, and Preaching.Charles L. Campbell - 1997 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 51 (4):384-401.
    The current revival of William Stringfellow's theological ethics is a challenge for preachers. Stringfellow's theology of the powers provides a compelling contemporary interpretation of the demonic forces that shape human life and confront Christian preachers. His work has extraordinary implications for those who seek to proclaim the Word amidst the chaos and death of the contemporary world.
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  26. added 2019-05-31
    Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford What Tends to Be: The Philosophy of Dispositional Modality. London & New York: Routledge, Hbk Pp. X+193. [REVIEW]Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201903.
    There seems to be widespread agreement that there are two modal values: necessity and possibility. X is necessary if it is not possible that not-X; and Y is possible if it is not necessary that not-Y. In their path-breaking book, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford defend the radical idea that there is a third modal value, weaker than necessity and stronger than possibility. This third value is dubbed 'dispositional modality' (DM) or 'tendency' and is taken to be an irreducible (...)
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  27. added 2019-04-20
    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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  28. added 2019-04-15
    Intrinsic Dispositional Properties and Immanent Realism.Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (4):500-519.
    _ Source: _Page Count 20 Tugby and Yates have recently argued that immanent realism is incompatible with the existence of intrinsic but relationally constituted genuine dispositional properties. The success of Tugby’s and Yates’ arguments depends either on a strong or on a weak assumption about the interworld identity of dispositional properties. In this paper, the author evaluates the strength of the arguments in question under those two assumptions. He also offers an alternative metaphysical picture for the fundamental dispositional properties which (...)
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  29. added 2019-04-15
    Dispositionality and Symmetry Structures.Vassilis Livanios - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (2):201-217.
    A number of metaphysicians and philosophers of science have raised the issue of the modality of the fundamental structures of the world. Although the debate so far has been largely focused on the inherent causal character of fundamental structures, one aspect of it has naturally taken its place as part of the dispositional/categorical debate. In this paper, I focus on the latter in the case of the fundamental symmetry structures. After putting forward the necessary metaphysical presuppositions for the debate to (...)
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  30. added 2019-03-18
    Grounding Power on Actions and Mental Attitudes.E. Lorini, N. Troquard, A. Herzig & J. Broersen - 2013 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 21 (3):311-331.
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  31. added 2019-03-18
    Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.E. J. Lowe - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):817--822.
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  32. added 2019-03-07
    Belief as the Power to Judge.Nicholas Koziolek - forthcoming - Topoi:1-10.
    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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  33. added 2019-03-07
    Free Will and Mental Powers.Niels van Miltenburg & Dawa Ometto - forthcoming - Topoi:1-11.
    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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  34. added 2019-03-01
    Mental Causation and Intelligibility.David Robb - 2015 - Humana Mente 8 (29).
    I look at some central positions in the mental causation debate – reductionism, emergentism, and nonreductive physicalism – on the hypothesis that mental causation is intelligible. On this hypothesis, mental causes and their effects are internally related so that they intelligibly “fit”, analogous to the way puzzle pieces interlock, or shades of red fall into order within a color sphere. The assumption of intelligibility has what I take to be a welcome consequence: deciding among rivals in the mental causation debate (...)
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  35. added 2019-01-31
    NATURE'S CAPACITIES: Schelling and Contemporary Power-Based Ontologies.Charlotte Alderwick - 2016 - Angelaki 21 (4):59-76.
    This paper draws a number of parallels between Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and contemporary work in the metaphysics of powers. This concept is being applied to a range of debates, however a distinct lack of work exists focusing on extending this concept to ontology as a whole. I argue that Schelling’s Naturphilosophie provides insight into what this kind of system would look like. I begin with a brief outline of the characterisation and use of powers in the contemporary literature to show the (...)
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  36. added 2019-01-18
    Essence and the Inference Problem.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    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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  37. added 2018-12-18
    Introduction.Gregor Damschen - 2009 - In Gregor Damschen, Karsten Stueber & Robert Schnepf (eds.), Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.
    Introduction to Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind, ed. by Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf, and Karsten R. Stueber, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 2009.
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  38. added 2018-11-08
    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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  39. added 2018-11-02
    Inverse Functionalism and the Individuation of Powers.David Yates - 2017 - Synthese 195 (10):4525-4550.
    In the pure powers ontology (PPO), basic physical properties have wholly dispositional essences. PPO has clear advantages over categoricalist ontologies, which suffer from familiar epistemological and metaphysical problems. However, opponents argue that because it contains no qualitative properties, PPO lacks the resources to individuate powers, and generates a regress. The challenge for those who take such arguments seriously is to introduce qualitative properties without reintroducing the problems that PPO was meant to solve. In this paper, I distinguish the core claim (...)
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  40. added 2018-10-01
    The Dispositional Nature of Phenomenal Properties.Simone Gozzano - 2018 - 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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  41. added 2018-09-06
    Dispositions: A Debate. [REVIEW]Petri Ylikoski - 1999 - Dialogue 38 (1):175-177.
    This book is rather unorthodox in its composition. Instead of being a collection of essays, it consists of two series of debates between three writers. The first debate is between David Armstrong and U. T. Place, and consists of two contributions from both writers. The second debate is composed of C. B. Martin's essay "Properties and Dispositions," and two replies by each of the three authors. Although both debates are nominally about dispositions, they actually cover a wide array of questions (...)
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  42. added 2018-08-04
    Emergent Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2018 - Topoi:1-14.
    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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  43. added 2018-08-02
    Could There Be a Power World?Mary Clayton Coleman - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):161.
    Could there be a power world? That is to say, could there be a world consisting of nothing but dispositional properties? If there couldn't be, then, obviously, the actual world is not such a world. That is one reason why answering this question is important. However, even if one thinks it is already obvious that the actual world is not a power world, answering this question is still important, because whether there could be a power world depends, in part, on (...)
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  44. added 2018-06-05
    Agency and Two‐Way Powers.Maria Alvarez - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):101-121.
    In this paper I propose a way of characterizing human agency in terms of the concept of a two‐way power. I outline this conception of agency, defend it against some objections, and briefly indicate how it relates to free agency and to moral praise‐ and blameworthiness.
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  45. added 2018-05-28
    Substance Causation.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2018 - Philosophia:1-22.
    I defend the thesis that, if there are substances, substance causation (i.e., causation by substances) is the only sort of causation in the universe – or the only fundamental sort. Subsequently, I develop an account of substance causation that is partly grounded on a peculiar interpretation of absolute change (i.e., of entities' coming and ceasing to be) and qualitative change, on some ontological assumptions about modes (i.e., individual properties that ontologically depend on their bearers) and powers. Finally, I reply to (...)
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  46. added 2018-05-22
    On the Possibility of Contigently Dispositional Properties.Vassilios Livanios - 2010 - Abstracta 6 (1):3-17.
    Metaphysicians who hold that there is an ontological distinction between two kinds of fundamental natural properties assume that properties are dispositional or non-dispositional necessarily. In contrast to this, I suggest that one can admit the existence of fundamental contingently dispositional properties. After some clarifications concerning the content of the suggested view, I respond to several objections regarding its intelligibility and viability and outline two of its important consequences.
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  47. added 2018-05-14
    Absence Causation for Causal Dispositionalists.Randolph Clarke - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):323-331.
    Several theories of causation reject causation of or by absences. They thereby clash with much of what we think and say about what causes what. This paper examines a way in which one kind of theory, causal dispositionalism, can be modified so as to accept absence causation, while still retaining a fundamental commitment of dispositionalism. The proposal adopts parts of a strategy described by David Lewis. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the problem of the proliferation of causes.
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  48. added 2018-04-09
    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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  49. added 2018-04-09
    Causal Production as Interaction.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Metaphysica 3 (1):87-119.
    The paper contains a novel realist account of causal production and the necessary connection between cause and effect. I argue that the asymmetric relation between causally connected events must be regarded as a product of a symmetric interaction between two or more entities. All the entities involved contribute to the producing, and so count as parts of the cause, and they all suffer a change, and so count as parts of the effect. Cause and effect, on this account, are two (...)
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  50. added 2018-04-04
    Mechanistic Causation and Constraints: Perspectival Parts and Powers, Non-Perspectival Modal Patterns.Jason Winning - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Any successful account of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation must satisfy at least five key desiderata. In this paper, I lay out these five desiderata and explain why existing accounts of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation fail to satisfy them. I then present an alternative account which does satisfy the five desiderata. According to this alternative account, we must resort to a type of ontological entity that is new to metaphysics, but not to science: constraints. In this paper, I explain (...)
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