Intrinsic powers


– Common to most realist accounts of powers is the claim that they are intrinsic properties. Most arguments presented in defence of the intrinsicality thesis have as their targets reductive treatments of powers that conceive of powers as relations between the object described as possessing the power and either some previous manifestation event or the laws of nature. However, even if these arguments are successful, they fail to establish that powers are intrinsic properties; at best they demonstrate the irreducibility of powers. In order to take the further step to intrinsicality, these arguments need to be supplemented by an argument to the effect that powers are not relations that hold between pairs or sets of objects. This paper aims to supply that missing argument.



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Neil E. Williams
University at Buffalo

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