Overpowering: How the Powers Ontology Has Overreached Itself

Mind 125 (498):341-383 (2016)

Authors
Alexander James Bird
King's College London
Abstract
Many authors have argued in favour of an ontology of properties as powers, and it has been widely argued that this ontology allows us to address certain philosophical problems in novel and illuminating ways, for example, causation, representation, intentionality, free will and liberty. I argue that the ontology of powers, even if successful as an account of fundamental natural properties, does not provide the insight claimed as regards the aforementioned non-fundamental phenomena. I illustrate this argument by criticizing the powers theory of causation presented by Mumford and Anjum and showing that related criticisms can be directed at other abuses of powers.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzv207
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References found in this work BETA

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - Routledge.

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Citations of this work BETA

Powerful Qualities and Pure Powers.Henry Taylor - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1423-1440.
I—Fundamental Powers, Evolved Powers, and Mental Powers.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):247-275.
Epiphenomenal Properties.Umut Baysan - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):419-431.
II—Evolved Powers, Artefact Powers, and Dispositional Explanations.Barbara Vetter - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):277-297.

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What Do Powers Do When They Are Not Manifested?Stathis Psillos - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (1):137-156.
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