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Powers: A Study in Metaphysics

Mind 114 (454):435-438 (2005)

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  1. Representing Dispositions.Johannes Röhl & Ludger Jansen - 2011 - Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2 (4).
    Dispositions and tendencies feature significantly in the biomedical domain and therefore in representations of knowledge of that domain. They are not only important for specific applications like an infectious disease ontology, but also as part of a general strategy for modelling knowledge about molecular interactions. But the task of representing dispositions in some formal ontological systems is fraught with several problems, which are partly due to the fact that Description Logics can only deal well with binary relations. The paper will (...)
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  • Can Reference Be Naturalized? -Notes Toward an Integrational(誠) Causality.Daihyun Chung - 2016 - Philosophy Study 6 (5):289-304.
    As physicalisms of various kinds have faced difficulties in recent years, the time has come to explore possible alternatives, one of which is yinyang ontology. A yinyang theorist is expected to provide a plausible account of causation to replace the traditional notion of causation. The present paper is critical of the Humean tradition, which understands the relata of causal relations in terms of passive materiality so that humans use referential terms to describe causal relations constructively. But an alternative notion of (...)
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  • On What Powers Cannot Do.Joel Katzav - 2005 - Dialectica 59 (3):331–345.
    Dispositionalism is the view that the world is, ultimately, just a world of objects and their irreducible dispositions, and that such dispositions are, ultimately, the sole explanatory ground for the occurrence of events. This view is motivated, partly, by arguing that it affords, while non‐necessitarian views of laws of nature do not afford, an adequate account of our intuitions about which regularities are non‐accidental. I, however, argue that dispositionalism cannot adequately account for our intuitions about which regularities are non‐accidental. Further, (...)
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  • Hylomorphism and Part-Whole Realism.William Jaworski - 2019 - Ancient Philosophy Today 1 (1):108-127.
    Mereonominalism, holonominalism, and part-whole realism represent competing views on the metaphysics of parts and wholes. Mereonominalism claims that what parts exist is a function of the concepts...
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  • The Composition of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):805-846.
    This paper defends a realist account of the composition of Newtonian forces, dubbed ‘residualism’. According to residualism, the resultant force acting on a body is identical to the component forces acting on it that do not prevent each other from bringing about its acceleration. Several reasons to favor residualism over alternative accounts of the composition of forces are advanced. (i) Residualism reconciles realism about component forces with realism about resultant forces while avoiding any threat of causal overdetermination. (ii) Residualism provides (...)
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  • XV—Intelligent Capacities.Victoria McGeer - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    In The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that a more sophisticated understanding of the dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’ could bolster philosophical resistance to the tempting view that the human mind is possessed of metaphysically ‘occult’ powers and properties. This temptation is powerful in the context of accounting for the special qualities of responsible agency. Incompatibilists indulge the temptation; compatibilists resist it, using a variety of strategies. One recent strategy, reminiscent of Ryle’s, is to exploit a more sophisticated understanding (...)
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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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  • Dispositions, Abilities to Act, and Free Will: The New Dispositionalism.Randolph Clarke - 2009 - Mind 118 (470):323-351.
    This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the main points (...)
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  • A Dispositional Theory of Health.Sander Werkhoven - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy003.
    A satisfactory account of the nature of health is important for a wide range of theoretical and practical reasons. No theory offered in the literature thus far has been able to meet all the desiderata for an adequate theory of health. This paper introduces a new theory of health, according to which health is best defined in terms of dispositions at the level of the organism as a whole. After outlining the main features of the account and providing formal definitions (...)
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  • Substance Concentrations as Conditions for the Realization of Dispositions.J. Hastings, L. Jansen, Stefan Schulz & C. Steinbeck - 2011 - In Ronald Cornet & Stefan Schulz (eds.), Semantic Applications in Life Sciences. Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Formal Biomedical Knowledge Representation, hosted by Bio-Ontologies 2010.
    Ontologies aim to represent what is general, by means of universal statements. In contrast, dispositional predications capture knowledge about what is likely to happen if a certain set of circumstances obtain, which is crucial in investigative research such as in drug discovery and systems biology, where entities which are constitutionally dissimilar can nevertheless have similar behavior in a biological context. While such dispositional properties are increasingly included in biomedical ontologies, the circumstances under which the dispositions are realized are seldom explicitly (...)
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  • Agent-Causal Theories.Timothy O'Connor - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd Rev. Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 309-328.
    This essay will canvass recent philosophical discussion of accounts of human (free) agency that deploy a notion of agent causation . Historically, many accounts have only hinted at the nature of agent causation by way of contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. Likewise, the numerous criticisms of agent causal theories have tended to be highly general, often amounting to no more that the bare assertion that the idea of agent causation is obscure or mysterious. But in the (...)
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  • Moral Principles Are Not Moral Laws.Luke Robinson - 2007 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2 (3):1-22.
    What are moral principles? The assumption underlying much of the generalism–particularism debate in ethics is that they are (or would be) moral laws: generalizations or some special class thereof, such as explanatory or counterfactual-supporting generalizations. I argue that this law conception of moral principles is mistaken. For moral principles do at least three things that moral laws cannot do, at least not in their own right: explain certain phenomena, provide particular kinds of support for counterfactuals, and ground moral necessities, “necessary (...)
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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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  • No Time for Powers.Marius Backmann - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-29.
    ABSTRACTIn this paper, I will investigate the compatibility of different metaphysics of time with the powers view. At first sight, it seems natural to combine some sort of powers ontology with a dynamical view of time, since the dynamic character of powers appears to account for the progression of time. Accordingly, it has been argued that a powers ontology, which is supposed to be inherently dynamic and productive, is incompatible with eternalism, which does not allow for any sort of real (...)
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