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  1. Powers and the hard problem of consciousness: conceivability, possibility and powers.Sophie R. Allen - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-33.
    Do conceivability arguments work against physicalism if properties are causal powers? By considering three different ways of understanding causal powers and the modality associated with them, I will argue that most, if not all, physicalist powers theorists should not be concerned about the conceivability argument because its conclusion that physicalism is false does not hold in their favoured ontology. I also defend specific powers theories against some recent objections to this strategy, arguing that the conception of properties as powerful blocks (...)
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  • Manifestation and Unrestricted Dispositional Monism.Vassilis Livanios - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (2):179-196.
    Most metaphysicians agree that powers can exist without being manifested. The main goal of this paper is to show that adherents of an unrestricted version of Dispositional Monism cannot provide a plausible metaphysical account of the difference between a situation in which a power-instance is not manifested and a situation in which a manifestation of that power-instance actually occurs unless they undermine their own view. To this end, two kinds of manifestation-relation are introduced and it is argued that dispositional monists (...)
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  • Modal Dispositionalism and Necessary Perfect Masks.Barbara Vetter & Ralf Busse - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):84-94.
    Modal dispositionalism is the view that possibilities are a matter of the dispositions of individual objects: it is possible that p if and only if something has a disposition for p to be the case. We raise a problem for modal dispositionalism: nothing within the theory rules out that there could be necessary, perfect masks, which make the manifestation of a disposition impossible. Unless such necessary perfect masks are ruled out, modal dispositionalism runs the risk of failing to provide a (...)
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  • Understanding Addiction.Robert M. Kelly - 2021 - Dissertation, University at Buffalo
    The addiction literature is fraught with conceptual confusions, stalled debates, and an unfortunate lack of clear and careful attempts to delineate the phenomenon of addiction in a way that might lead to consensus. My dissertation has two overarching aims, one metaphysical and one practical. -/- The first aim is to defend an account of addiction as the systematic disposition to fail to control one’s desires to engage in certain types of behaviors. I defend the inclusion of desires and impaired control (...)
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  • Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper shows how a niche account of the metaphysics of laws of nature and physical properties—the Powers-BSA—can underpin both a sense in which the laws are metaphysically necessary and a sense in which it is true that the laws could have been different. The ability to reconcile entrenched disagreement should count in favour of a philosophical theory, so this paper constitutes a novel argument for the Powers-BSA by showing how it can reconcile disagreement about the laws’ modal status. This (...)
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  • Dispositional Monism and the Ontological Distinction Between Unmanifested and Manifested Powers.Vassilis Livanios - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):89-99.
    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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  • Dispositions, Primitive Activities, and Essentially Active Objects.Travis Dumsday - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (1):43-64.
    The question of whether there could be a physical object that is necessarily constantly active has a long history, and it has recently arisen again in the literature on dispositions. I examine and critique two proposals for affirming the possibility of such an object. I then advocate a third option, one which is workable if paired with natural-kind essentialism. Finally I briefly outline three possible implications of this view for wider debates concerning the ontology of dispositions and natural kinds.
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  • The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism.Christopher J. Austin - 2015 - Ratio 28 (3):271-285.
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  • The necessity of conceivability.Sophie R. Allen & Javier Cumpa - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-18.
    In his conceivability argument, Chalmers assumes that all properties have their causal powers contingently and causal laws are also contingent. We argue that this claim conflicts with how conceivability itself must work for the conceivability argument to be successful. If conceivability is to be an effective mechanism to determine possibility, it must work as a matter of necessity, since contingent conceivability renders conceivability fallible for an ideal reasoner and the fallible conceivability of zombies would not entail their possibility. But necessary (...)
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  • Plenitude and Necessarily Unmanifested Dispositions.Jonas Werner - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):169-177.
    The principle of plenitude says that every material object coincides with abundantly many further objects that differ in their modal profiles. A necessarily unmanifested disposition is a disposition that necessarily does not manifest. This paper argues that if the principle of plenitude holds, then there are some necessarily unmanifested dispositions. These necessarily unmanifested dispositions will be argued to evade some objections against the cases of necessarily unmanifested dispositions put forward by Carrie Jenkins and Daniel Nolan.
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  • Hardcore Actualism and Possible Non‐Existence.Samuel Kimpton‐Nye - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):122-131.
    According to hardcore actualism (HA), all modal truths are grounded in the concrete constituents of the actual world. In this paper, I discuss some problems faced by HA when it comes to accounting for certain alleged possibilities of non‐existence. I focus particular attention on Leech (2017)'s dilemma for HA, according to which HA must either sacrifice extensional correctness or admit mere possibilia. I propose a solution to Leech's dilemma, which relies on a distinction between weak and strong possibility. It remains (...)
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  • Disposition Impossible.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):732-753.
    Are there dispositions which not only do not manifest, but which could not manifest? We argue that there are dispositions to Ф in circumstances C where C is impossible, and some where Ф is impossible. Furthermore, postulating these dispositions does useful theoretical work. This paper describes a number of cases of dispositions had by objects even though those dispositions are not possibly manifest, and argues for the importance of these dispositions.
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  • Laws of Nature Don't Have Ceteris Paribus Clauses, They Are Ceteris Paribus Clauses.Travis Dumsday - 2013 - Ratio 26 (2):134-147.
    Laws of nature are properly (if controversially) conceived as abstract entities playing a governing role in the physical universe. Dispositionalists typically hold that laws of nature are not real, or at least are not fundamental, and that regularities in the physical universe are grounded in the causal powers of objects. By contrast, I argue that dispositionalism implies nomic realism: since at least some dispositions have ceteris paribus clauses incorporating uninstantiated universals, and these ceteris paribus clauses help to determine their dispositions' (...)
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  • Can Hardcore Actualism Validate S5?Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):342-358.
    Hardcore actualism (HA) grounds all modal truths in the concrete constituents of the actual world (see, e.g., Borghini and Williams (2008), Jacobs (2010), Vetter (2015)). I bolster HA, and elucidate the very nature of possibility (and necessity) according to HA, by considering if it can validate S5 modal logic. Interestingly, different considerations pull in different directions on this issue. To resolve the tension, we are forced to think hard about the nature of the hardcore actualist's modal reality and how radically (...)
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  • Making Sense of Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8347-8363.
    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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  • Causal Fundamentality.Soufiane Hamri - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-13.
    I present an argument for causal fundamentality, understood as the thesis that the causal history of every being, whose existence has a causal explanation, includes some uncaused beings. I argue that this thesis is a consequence of an actualist account of metaphysical modality whose novelty lies in its hybrid dispositional-essentialist foundation. I argue that my modal theory is extensionally correct and minimalistic. Its range of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just as wide as needed to capture the pre-theoretical notion of (...)
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  • Necessary Laws and the Problem of Counterlegals.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (3):518-535.
    Substantive counterlegal discourse poses a problem for those according to whom the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. I discern two types of necessitarianism about laws: dispositional essentialism and modal necessitarianism. I argue that Toby Handfield’s response to the problem of counterlegals cannot help the modal necessitarian, according to whom all possible worlds are identical with respect to the laws. I thus propose a fictionalist treatment of counterlegals. Fictions are not limited by metaphysical possibility; hence, fictionalism affords the modal necessitarian (...)
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  • Dispositionalism and the Modal Operators.David Yates - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):411-424.
    Actualists of a certain stripe—dispositionalists—hold that metaphysical modality is grounded in the powers of actual things. Roughly: p is possible iff something has, or some things have, the power to bring it about that p. Extant critiques of dispositionalism focus on its material adequacy, and question whether there are enough powers to account for all the possibilities we intuitively want to countenance. For instance, it seems possible that none of the actual contingent particulars ever existed, but it is impossible to (...)
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  • Non‐Humean Theories of Natural Necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):1-1.
    Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...)
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  • The Modal Limits of Dispositionalism.Jennifer Wang - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):454-469.
    Dispositionality is a modal notion of a certain sort. When an object is said to have a disposition, we typically understand this to mean that under certain circumstances, the object would behave in a certain way. For instance, a fragile object is disposed to break when dropped onto a concrete surface. It need not actually break - its being fragile has implications that, so to speak, point beyond the actual world. According to dispositionalism, all modal features of the world may (...)
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  • Counterpossibles.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12787.
  • Perspectives on Clinical Possibility: Elements of Analysis.Daniele Chiffi & Renzo Zanotti - 2016 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 22 (4):509-514.
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  • Modal Semantics Without Worlds.Craig Warmke - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):702-715.
    Over the last half century, possible worlds have bled into almost every area of philosophy. In the metaphysics of modality, for example, philosophers have used possible worlds almost exclusively to illuminate discourse about metaphysical necessity and possibility. But recently, some have grown dissatisfied with possible worlds. Why are horses necessarily mammals? Because the property of being a horse bears a special relationship to the property of being a mammal, they say. Not because every horse is a mammal in every possible (...)
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  • God, Powers, and Possibility in Kant’s Beweisgrund.Michael Oberst - manuscript
    This paper proposes a novel reading of Kant’s account of the dependence of possibility on God in the pre-Critical Beweisgrund. I argue that Kant has a theistic-potentialist conception of the way God grounds possibility, according to which God grounds possibility by his understanding and will. The reason is that Kant accepts what I call the Principle of Possible Existence: If something is possible, then it is possible that it exists. Furthermore, I explore the connection between causal powers and possibility, the (...)
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  • Integrated-Structure Emergence and its Mechanistic Explanation.Gil Santos - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8687-8711.
    This paper proposes an integrated-structure notion of interlevel emergence, from a dynamic relational ontological perspective. First, I will argue that only the individualist essentialism of atomistic metaphysics can block the possibility of interlevel emergence. Then I will show that we can make sense of emergence by recognizing the formation of structures of transformative and interdependent causal relations in the generation and development of a particular class of mereological complexes called integrated systems. Finally, I shall argue that even though the emergent (...)
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  • (A New Paradigm for) the Problem of the Many.Neil E. Williams - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5533-5550.
    This paper offers an original solution to the problem of the many, built on a foundation of powers-based causation. At its most basic, the solution should be understood as a type of maximality response, and on those grounds its originality might be questioned. However, it is argued that novelty of the solution owes as much to the meta-metaphysical context in which the solution is framed as it does the model of causal powers. A discussion of paradigms in metaphysics is included.
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  • Dispositionality, Categoricity, and Where to Find Them.Lorenzo Azzano - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2949-2976.
    Discussions about dispositional and categorical properties have become commonplace in metaphysics. Unfortunately, dispositionality and categoricity are disputed notions: usual characterizations are piecemeal and not widely applicable, thus threatening to make agreements and disagreements on the matter merely verbal—and also making it arduous to map a logical space of positions about dispositional and categorical properties in which all parties can comfortably fit. This paper offers a prescription for this important difficulty, or at least an inkling thereof. This will be achieved by (...)
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  • 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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  • Talent Dispositionalism.Catherine M. Robb - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8085-8102.
    Talents often play a significant role in our personal and social lives. For example, our talents may shape the choices we make and the goods that we value, making them central to the creation of a meaningful life. Differences in the level of talents also affect how social institutions are structured, and how social goods and resources are distributed. Despite their normative importance, it is surprising that talents have not yet received substantial philosophical analysis in their own right. As a (...)
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  • Modal Dispositionalism and the (T) Axiom.Matthew James Collier - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):977-988.
    Yates has recently argued that modal dispositionalism invalidates the axiom. Both Yates and Allen have advanced responses to the objection: Yates’s response proposes installing truth into the possibility biconditional, and Allen’s response requires that all properties be construed as being essentially dispositional. I argue that supporters of Borghini and Williams’s modal dispositionalist theory cannot accept these responses, given critical tenets of their theory. But, since these responses to the objection are the most plausible in the literature, I conclude that the (...)
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  • A Powers Theory of Modality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reject Possible Worlds.Jonathan D. Jacobs - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):227-248.
    Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...)
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  • Humility Regarding Intrinsic Properties.Lok-Chi Chan - 2021 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The Humility Thesis is a persistent thesis in contemporary metaphysics. It is known by a variety of names, including, but not limited to, Humility, Intrinsic Humility, Kantian Humility, Kantian Physicalism, Intrinsic Ignorance, Categorical Ignorance, Irremediable Ignorance, and Noumenalism. According to the thesis, we human beings, and any knowers that share our general ways of knowing, are irremediably ignorant of a certain class of properties that are intrinsic to material entities … Continue reading Humility Regarding Intrinsic Properties →.
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  • The Epistemological Objection to Modal Primitivism.Jennifer Wang - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1887-1898.
    Modal primitivists hold that some modal truths are primitively true. They thus seem to face a special epistemological problem: how can primitive modal truths be known? The epistemological objection has not been adequately developed in the literature. I undertake to develop the objection, and then to argue that the best formulation of the epistemological objection targets all realists about modality, rather than the primitivist alone. Furthermore, the moves available to reductionists in response to the objection are also available to primitivists. (...)
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  • Potentiality: Actualism Minus Naturalism Equals Platonism.Giacomo Giannini & Matthew Tugby - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiries 1 (8):117-40.
    Vetter (2015) develops a localised theory of modality, based on potentialities of actual objects. Two factors play a key role in its appeal: its commitment to Hardcore Actualism, and to Naturalism. Vetter’s commitment to Naturalism is in part manifested in her adoption of Aristotelian universals. In this paper, we argue that a puzzle concerning the identity of unmanifested potentialities cannot be solved with an Aristotelian conception of properties. After introducing the puzzle, we examine Vetter’s attempt at amending the Aristotelian conception (...)
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  • Anscombe's Intention: A Guide. [REVIEW]Benjamin Schulz - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):438-440.
    Anscombe's Intention: A Guide. By Schwenkler John.
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  • Understanding as a Source of Justification.Joachim Horvath - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):509-534.
    The traditional epistemological approach towards judgments like BACHELORS ARE UNMARRIED or ALL KNOWLEDGE IS TRUE is that they are justified or known on the basis of understanding alone. In this paper, I develop an understanding-based account which takes understanding to be a sufficient source of epistemic justification for the relevant judgments. Understanding-based accounts face the problem of the rational revisability of almost all human judgments. Williamson has recently developed a reinforced version of this problem: the challenge from expert revisability. This (...)
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  • Counterpossibles (Not Only) for Dispositionalists.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2681-2700.
    Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...)
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  • The World Is a Necessary Being.Chad Vance - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):377-390.
    A standard conception of metaphysical modality accepts that Some de re modal claims are true, These should be understood in terms of a possible worlds semantics, and There is trans-world identity. For instance, it seems true that Humphrey could have won the election. In possible worlds speak, we say that there exists a possible world where Humphrey wins the election. Furthermore, had that possibility been actualized instead of this one, Humphrey—our Humphrey, the very same man—would still have existed. Here, I (...)
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  • Potentiality and Possibility.Barbara Vetter - 2010 - Dissertation, Oxford
    In this thesis, I develop a nonreductive and general conception of potentiality, and explore the prospects of a realist account of possibility based on this account of potentiality. Potentialities are properties of individual objects; they include dispositions such as fragility and abilities such as the ability to play the piano. Potentialities are individuated by their manifestation alone. In order to provide a unified account of potentialities, I argue in chapter 2 that dispositions, contrary to philosophical orthodoxy, are best understood in (...)
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  • Modal Truthmakers, Truth Conditions, and Analyses: Or, How to Avoid the Humphrey Objection.Chad Vance - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (2):145-159.
    Truthmakers, truth conditions, and analyses are closely related, but distinct in rather important ways. A failure to properly appreciate their differences has led to some confusion regarding the role that possible worlds ought to play with respect to modality. Those philosophers who initially proposed the existence of possible worlds were understood as providing an analysis of modality. More recently, many have interpreted them as providing modal truthmakers. But, possible worlds are only suited to serve as truth conditions for modal truths. (...)
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  • I—Fundamental Powers, Evolved Powers, and Mental Powers.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):247-275.
    Powers have in recent years become a central component of many philosophers’ ontology of properties. While I have argued that powers exist at the fundamental level of properties, many other theorists of powers hold that there are also non-fundamental powers. In this paper I articulate my reasons for being sceptical about the existing reasons for holding that there are non-fundamental powers. However, I also want to promote a different argument for the existence of a certain class of non-fundamental powers: properties (...)
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  • Modal Truthmakers and Two Varieties of Actualism.Gabriele Contessa - 2010 - Synthese 174 (3):341 - 353.
    In this paper, I distinguish between two varieties of actualism—hardcore actualism and softcore actualism—and I critically discuss Ross Cameron’s recent arguments for preferring a softcore actualist account of the truthmakers for modal truths over hardcore actualist ones. In the process, I offer some arguments for preferring the hardcore actualist account of modal truthmakers over the softcore actualist one.
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  • Recent Work: Modality Without Possible Worlds.Barbara Vetter - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):742-754.
    This paper surveys recent "new actualist" approaches to modality that do without possible worlds and locate modality squarely in the actual world. New actualist theories include essentialism and dispositionalism about modality, each of which can come in different varieties. The commonalities and differences between these views, as well as their shared motivations, are layed out.
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  • Dispositional Essentialism and the Grounding of Natural Modality.Siegfried Jaag - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Dispositional essentialism is a non-Humean view about the essences of certain fundamental or natural properties that looms large in recent metaphysics , not least because it promises to explain neatly the natural modalities such as laws of nature, counterfactuals, causation and chance. In the current paper, however, several considerations are presented that indicate a serious tension between its essentialist core thesis and natural “metaphysical” interpretations of its central explanatory claims.
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  • Where the Real Power Lies: A Reply to Bird.Stephen Mumford - forthcoming - Mind.
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  • Perspectives on Clinical Possibility: Elements of Analysis.Daniele Chiffi & Renzo Zanotti - 2016 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 4 (22):509-14.
  • The Nature of Necessity.Brian Leftow - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):359-383.
    I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
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  • 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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  • Essence, Potentiality, and Modality.Barbara Vetter - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):833-861.
    According to essentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the essences of things, where the essence of a thing is roughly akin to its real definition. According to potentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the potentialities of things, where a potentiality is roughly the generalized notion of a disposition. Essentialism and potentialism have much in common, but little has been written about their relation to each other. The aim of this paper is to understand better the relations between essence and potentiality, (...)
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  • The Space of Possibilities of Dispositional Essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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