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The question of realism for powers

Synthese 196 (1):329-354 (2019)

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  1. Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
    Tn this paper I explore and to an extent defend HS. The main philosophical challenges to HS come from philosophical views that say that nomic concepts-laws, chance, and causation-denote features of the world that fail to supervene on non-nomic features. Lewis rejects these views and has labored mightily to construct HS accounts of nomic concepts. His account of laws is fundamental to his program, since his accounts of the other nomic notions rely on it. Recently, a number of philosophers have (...)
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  • On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
    On the now dominant Quinean view, metaphysics is about what there is. Metaphysics so conceived is concerned with such questions as whether properties exist, whether meanings exist, and whether numbers exist. I will argue for the revival of a more traditional Aristotelian view, on which metaphysics is about what grounds what. Metaphysics so revived does not bother asking whether properties, meanings, and numbers exist (of course they do!) The question is whether or not they are fundamental.
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  • Word and Object.Willard van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
    In the course of the discussion, Professor Quine pinpoints the difficulties involved in translation, brings to light the anomalies and conflicts implicit in our ...
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  • Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Ever since David Hume, empiricists have barred powers and capacities from nature. In this book Cartwright argues that capacities are essential in our scientific world, and, contrary to empiricist orthodoxy, that they can meet sufficiently strict demands for testability. Econometrics is one discipline where probabilities are used to measure causal capacities, and the technology of modern physics provides several examples of testing capacities (such as lasers). Cartwright concludes by applying the lessons of the book about capacities and probabilities to the (...)
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  • How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In this sequence of philosophical essays about natural science, the author argues that fundamental explanatory laws, the deepest and most admired successes of modern physics, do not in fact describe regularities that exist in nature. Cartwright draws from many real-life examples to propound a novel distinction: that theoretical entities, and the complex and localized laws that describe them, can be interpreted realistically, but the simple unifying laws of basic theory cannot.
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  • Causality and Properties.Sydney Shoemaker - 1980 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
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  • Humean Supervenience.Barry Loewer - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (1):101-127.
  • Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
    In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims.
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  • Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Philosophy 31 (118):268-269.
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  • On the Need for Properties: The Road to Pythagoreanism and Back.C. B. Martin - 1997 - Synthese 112 (2):193-231.
    The development of a compositional model shows the incoherence of such notions as levels of being and both bottom-up and top-down causality. The mathematization of nature through the partial considerations of physics qua quantities is seen to lead to Pythagoreanism, if what is not included in the partial consideration is denied. An ontology of only probabilities, if not Pythagoreanism, is equivalent to a world of primitive dispositionalities. Problems are found with each. There is a need for properties as well as (...)
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  • Truthmakers and Ontological Commitment: Or How to Deal with Complex Objects and Mathematical Ontology Without Getting Into Trouble.Ross P. Cameron - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):1 - 18.
    What are the ontological commitments of a sentence? In this paper I offer an answer from the perspective of the truthmaker theorist that contrasts with the familiar Quinean criterion. I detail some of the benefits of thinking of things this way: they include making the composition debate tractable without appealing to a neo-Carnapian metaontology, making sense of neo-Fregeanism, and dispensing with some otherwise recalcitrant necessary connections.
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  • Can a Single Property Be Both Dispositional and Categorical? The “Partial Consideration Strategy”, Partially Considered.Robert Schroer - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):63-77.
    One controversial position in the debate over dispositional and categorical properties maintains that our concepts of these properties are the result of partially considering unitary properties that are both dispositional and categorical. As one of its defenders (Heil 2005, p. 351) admits, this position is typically met with “incredulous stares”. In this paper, I examine whether such a reaction is warranted. This thesis about properties is an instance of what I call “the Partial Consideration Strategy”—i.e., the strategy of claiming that (...)
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  • The Regress of Pure Powers?Alexander Bird - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):513–534.
    Dispositional monism is the view that natural properties and relations are ‘pure powers’. It is objected that dispositional monism involves some kind of vicious or otherwise unpalatable regress or circularity. I examine ways of making this objection precise. The most pressing interpretation is that is fails to make the identities of powers determinate. I demonstrate that this objection is in error. It does however puts certain constraints on what the structure of fundamental properties is like. I show what a satisfactory (...)
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  • Truthmaker Commitments.Jonathan Schaffer - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):7-19.
    On the truthmaker view of ontological commitment [Heil (From an ontological point of view, 2003); Armstrong (Truth and truthmakers, 2004); Cameron (Philosophical Studies, 2008)], a theory is committed to the entities needed in the world for the theory to be made true. I argue that this view puts truthmaking to the wrong task. None of the leading accounts of truthmaking—via necessitation, supervenience, or grounding—can provide a viable measure of ontological commitment. But the grounding account does provide a needed constraint on (...)
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  • Testability and Meaning. --.Rudolf Carnap - 1937 - S.N.
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  • Ontological Commitments. --.William P. Alston - 1958 - Bobbs-Merrill.
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  • The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2002 - Routledge.
    In "The Philosophy of Nature," Brian Ellis provides a clear and forthright general summation of, and introduction to, the new essentialist position. Although the theory that the laws of nature are immanent in things, rather than imposed on them from without, is an ancient one, much recent work has been done to revive interest in essentialism and "The Philosophy of Nature" is a distinctive contribution to this lively current debate. Brian Ellis exposes the philosophical and scientific credentials of the prevailing (...)
     
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • Causal Structuralism.John Hawthorne - 2001 - In James Tomberlin (ed.), Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 361--78.
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  • Dispositions, Conditionals, and Counterexamples.D. Manley & R. Wasserman - 2011 - Mind 120 (480):1191-1227.
    In an earlier paper in these pages (2008), we explored the puzzling link between dispositions and conditionals. First, we rehearsed the standard counterexamples to the simple conditional analysis and the refined conditional analysis defended by David Lewis. Second, we attacked a tempting response to these counterexamples: what we called the ‘getting specific strategy’. Third, we presented a series of structural considerations that pose problems for many attempts to understand the link between dispositions and conditionals. Finally, we developed our own account (...)
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  • Finkish Dispositions.David K. Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
    Many years ago, C.B. Martin drew our attention to the possibility of ‘finkish’ dispositions: dispositions which, if put to the test would not be manifested, but rather would disappear. Thus if x if finkishly disposed to give response r to stimulus s, it is not so that if x were subjected to stimulus r, x would give response z; so finkish dispositions afford a counter‐example to the simplest conditional analysis of dispositions. Martin went on to suggest that finkish dispositions required (...)
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  • Dispositions and Habituals.Michael Fara - 2005 - Noûs 39 (1):43–82.
    Objects have dispositions. As Nelson Goodman put it, “a thing is full of threats and promises”. But sometimes those threats go unfulfilled, and the promises unkept. Sometimes the dispositions of objects fail to manifest themselves, even when their conditions of manifestation obtain. Pieces of wood, disposed to burn when heated, do not burn when heated in a vacuum chamber. And pastries, disposed to go bad when left lying around too long, won’t do so if coated with lacquer and put on (...)
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  • In Defence of Powerful Qualities.John H. Taylor - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):93-107.
    The ontology of ‘powerful qualities’ is gaining an increasing amount of attention in the literature on properties. This is the view that the so-called categorical or qualitative properties are identical with ‘dispositional’ properties. The position is associated with C.B. Martin, John Heil, Galen Strawson and Jonathan Jacobs. Robert Schroer ( 2012 ) has recently mounted a number of criticisms against the powerful qualities view as conceived by these main adherents, and has also advanced his own (radically different) version of the (...)
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  • The Mind in Nature.C. B. Martin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    What are the most fundamental features of the world? Do minds stand outside the natural order? Is a unified picture of mental and physical reality possible? The Mind in Nature provides a staunchly realist account of the world as a unified system incorporating both the mental and the physical.
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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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  • Truthmaking and Fundamentality.John Heil - 2016 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 3):849-860.
    Consider the idea that some entities are more fundamental than others, some entities ‘ground’ other, less fundamental, entities. What is it for something to be more fundamental than another, or for something to ‘ground’ something else? This paper urges the rejection of conceptions of grounding and fundamentality according to which reality has a hierarchical structure in which higher-level entities are taken to be distinct from but metaphysically dependent on more fundamental lower-level entities. Truthmaking is offered as an apt replacement for (...)
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  • Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems of contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics. This alternative would have real causal powers at its centre. Molnar set about developing a thorough account of powers that might persuade those who remained, perhaps unknowingly, in the grip of Humean assumptions. He succeeded in producing something both highly focused and at the same time wide-ranging. He showed both that the notion of (...)
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  • Getting Causes From Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Causation is everywhere in the world: it features in every science and technology. But how much do we understand it? Mumford and Anjum develop a new theory of causation based on an ontology of real powers or dispositions. They provide the first detailed outline of a thoroughly dispositional approach, and explore its surprising features.
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  • The Nature of Mind and Other Essays.David M. Armstrong - 1980 - University of Queensland Press.
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  • The Regress of Pure Powers Revisited.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):529-541.
    The paper aims to elucidate in better detail than before the dispute about whether or not dispositional monism—the view that all basic properties are pure powers—entails a vicious infinite regress. Particular focus is on Alexander Bird's and George Molnar's attempts to show that the arguments professing to demonstrate a vicious regress are inconclusive because they presuppose what they aim to prove, notably that powers are for their nature dependent on something else. I argue that Bird and Molnar are mistaken. It (...)
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  • A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  • The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
    This now-classic work challenges what Ryle calls philosophy's "official theory," the Cartesians "myth" of the separation of mind and matter. Ryle's linguistic analysis remaps the conceptual geography of mind, not so much solving traditional philosophical problems as dissolving them into the mere consequences of misguided language. His plain language and esstentially simple purpose place him in the traditioin of Locke, Berkeley, Mill, and Russell.
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  • Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2002 - Routledge.
    This book outlines a major new theory of natural laws. The book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely law-like phenomena in nature. The discussion addresses questions currently being debated by metaphysicians such as whether the laws of nature are necessary or contingent and whether a property can be identified independently of its causal role.
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  • Philosophical Papers.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and rational (...)
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  • From an Ontological Point of View.John Heil - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    From an Ontological Point of View is a highly original and accessible exploration of fundamental questions about what there is. John Heil discusses such issues as whether the world includes levels of reality; the nature of objects and properties; the demands of realism; what makes things true; qualities, powers, and the relation these bear to one another. He advances an account of the fundamental constituents of the world around us, and applies this account to problems that have plagued recent work (...)
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  • Causal Powers. A Theory of Natural Necessity.Rom Harré - 1975 - Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and whose (...)
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  • Truth and Truthmakers.D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    Truths are determined not by what we believe, but by the way the world is. Or so realists about truth believe. Philosophers call such theories correspondence theories of truth. Truthmaking theory, which now has many adherents among contemporary philosophers, is the most recent development of a realist theory of truth, and in this book D. M. Armstrong offers the first full-length study of this theory. He examines its applications to different sorts of truth, including contingent truths, modal truths, truths about (...)
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  • David Armstrong.Stephen Mumford - 2007 - Routledge.
    David Armstrong is one of Australia's greatest philosophers. His chief philosophical achievement has been the development of a core metaphysical programme, embracing the topics of universals, laws, modality and facts: a naturalistic metaphysics, consistent with a scientific view of the natural world. It is primarily through his work that Australian philosophy, and Australian metaphysics in particular, enjoys such a high reputation in the rest of the world. In this book Stephen Mumford offers an introduction to the full range of Armstrong's (...)
     
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  • Causality and Properties.Sydney Shoemaker - 1980 - In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel. pp. 109-35.
     
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  • Dispositional Essentialism.Brian Ellis & Caroline Lierse - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):27 – 45.
  • Against Quidditism.Robert Black - 2000 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1):87 – 104.
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  • Dispositions Are Causes.David Malet Armstrong - 1969 - Analysis 30 (1):23-26.
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  • Causal and Metaphysical Necessity.Sydney Shoemaker - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):59–77.
    Any property has two sorts of causal features: “forward-looking” ones, having to do with what its instantiation can contribute to causing, and ldquo;backward-looking” ones, having to do with how its instantiation can be caused. Such features of a property are essential to it, and properties sharing all of their causal features are identical. Causal necessity is thus a special case of metaphysical necessity. Appeals to imaginability have no more force against this view than they do against the Kripkean view that (...)
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  • All Else Being Equal.Peter Lipton - 1999 - Philosophy 74 (2):155-168.
    Most laws are ceteris paribus (cp) laws: they say not that all Fs are G but only that All Fs are G all else being equal. Most philosophical accounts of laws, however, have focused on strict laws. This paper considers how some of the standard philosophical problems about laws change when we switch attention from strict to cp laws and what special problems these laws raise. It is argued that some cp laws do not simply reflect the complexity of the (...)
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  • In Defense of Dispositions.D. H. Mellor - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (2):157-181.
  • Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
  • Causal Laws, Policy Predictions and the Need for Genuine Powers.Nancy Cartwright - 2007 - In Causal Powers: What Are They? Why Do We Need Them? What Can Be Done With Them and What Cannot? Contingency and Dissent in Science (04/07). London, U.K.: pp. 6-30.
    Knowledge of causal laws is expensive and hard to come by. But we work hard to get it because we believe that it will reduce contingency in planning policies and in building new technologies: knowledge of causal laws allows us to predict reliably what the outcomes will be when we manipulate the factors cited as causes in those laws. Or do they? This paper will argue that causal laws have no special role here. As economists from JS Mill to Robert (...)
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  • Go Figure: A Path Through Fictionalism.Stephen Yablo - 2001 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):72–102.
  • The Ontological Turn.C. B. Martin & John Heil - 1999 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 23 (1):34–60.
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