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Stephen Mumford
Durham University
  1.  69
    Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 2003 - Clarendon Press.
    Stephen Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role is in metaphysics and philosophy of science. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties--from the solubility of sugar to the belief that zebras have stripes. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind, and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world. His clear, straightforward, realist account reveals (...)
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  2.  94
    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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  3. Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - 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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  4. Freedom and Control - On the Modality of Free Will.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):1-12.
    Free will is a problem of modality, hampered by a commitment to modal dualism: the view that there is only necessity and pure contingency. If we have necessity, then things couldn't have been otherwise, against the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (AP). If there is complete contingency, then the agent seems to have no control over her actions, against the principle of Ultimate Authorship (UA). There is a third modality in natural causal processes, however. AP and UA can be reconciled if (...)
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  5. The Ungrounded Argument.Stephen Mumford - 2006 - Synthese 149 (3):471-489.
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  6.  98
    Causation and Evidence-Based Practive - an Ontological Review.Roger Kerry, Thor Eirik Eriksen, Svein Anders Noer Lie, Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2012 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):1006-1012.
    We claim that if a complete philosophy of evidence-based practice is intended, then attention to the nature of causation in health science is necessary. We identify how health science currently conceptualises causation by the way it prioritises some research methods over others. We then show how the current understanding of what causation is serves to constrain scientific progress. An alternative account of causation is offered. This is one of dispositionalism. We claim that by understanding causation from a dispositionalist stance, many (...)
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  7. A Powerful Theory of Causation.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2010 - In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. pp. 143--159.
    Hume thought that if you believed in powers, you believed in necessary connections in nature. He was then able to argue that there were none such because anything could follow anything else. But Hume wrong-footed his opponents. A power does not necessitate its manifestations: rather, it disposes towards them in a way that is less than necessary but more than purely contingent. -/- In this paper a dispositional theory of causation is offered. Causes dispose towards their effects and often produce (...)
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  8. Passing Powers Around.Stephen Mumford - 2009 - The Monist 92 (1):94-111.
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  9. Dispositional Modality.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - In C. F. Gethmann (ed.), Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft, Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 2. Meiner Verlag.
    There has been much discussion of powers or real dispositions in the past decade, but there remains an issue that has been inadequately treated. This concerns the precise modal value that comes with dispositionality. We contend in this paper that dispositionality involves a non-alethic, sui generis, irreducible modality. Dispositions only tend towards their manifestations; they do not necessitate them. Tendency is, of course, a dispositional term itself, so this last statement offers little by way of illumination. But given our thesis (...)
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  10.  60
    A Philosophical Argument Against Evidence-Based Policy.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen D. Mumford - 2017 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 23 (5):1045-1050.
  11. Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar & Stephen Mumford - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):485-487.
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  12.  56
    Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 1994 - Cogito 8 (2):141-146.
    Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role in metaphysics and philosophy of science is. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties--from the spin of a sub-atomic particle to the solubility of sugar. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world.
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  13. Laws and Lawlessness.Stephen Mumford - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):397-413.
    I develop a metaphysical position that is both lawless and anti-Humean. The position is called realist lawlessness and contrasts with both Humean lawlessness and nomological realism – the claim that there are laws in nature. While the Humean view also allows no laws, realist lawlessness is not Humean because it accepts some necessary connections in nature between distinct properties. Realism about laws, on the other hand, faces a central dilemma. Either laws govern the behaviour of properties from the outside or (...)
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  14. Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar & Stephen Mumford - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):674-677.
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  15.  76
    At the Borders of Medical Reasoning: Aetiological and Ontological Challenges of Medically Unexplained Symptoms.Thor Eirik Eriksen, Roger Kerry, Stephen Mumford, Svein Anders Noer Lie & Rani Lill Anjum - 2013 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 8:11.
    Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) remain recalcitrant to the medical profession, proving less suitable for homogenic treatment with respect to their aetiology, taxonomy and diagnosis. While the majority of existing medical research methods are designed for large scale population data and sufficiently homogenous groups, MUS are characterised by their heterogenic and complex nature. As a result, MUS seem to resist medical scrutiny in a way that other conditions do not. This paper approaches the problem of MUS from a philosophical point of (...)
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  16.  55
    Moderate Partisanship as Oscillation.Stephen Mumford - 2012 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (3):369-375.
    In Watching Sport, Stephen Mumford distinguishes two ways in which sport can be seen. A purist sees it aesthetically while a partisan sees it competitively. But this overlooks the obvious point that most sports fans are neither entirely purist nor entirely partisan. The norm will be some moderate position in between with the purist and partisan as ideal limits. What is then the point of considering these pure aesthetic and pure competitive ways of seeing? In this discussion note, I consider (...)
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  17. Negative Truth and Falsehood.Stephen Mumford - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt1):45 - 71.
    What makes it true when we say that something is not the case? Truthmaker maximalists think that every truth has a truthmaker—some fact in the world—that makes it true. No such facts can be found for the socalled negative truths. If a proposition is true when it has a truthmaker, then it would be false when it has no truthmaker. I therefore argue that negative truths, such as t<p>, are best understood as falsehoods, f<p>.
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  18. Miracles: Metaphysics and Modality.Stephen Mumford - 2001 - Religious Studies 37 (2):191-202.
    It is argued that miracles are best understood as natural events with supernatural causes and that such causal interaction is logically possible. Such miracles may, or may not, involve violations of natural laws. If violations of laws are possible, Humean supervenience views of laws are best avoided. Where miracles violate laws, it shows that what is naturally impossible may be actual and what is naturally necessary may not be actual. Whether or not miracles actually occur, this demonstrates that the nomic (...)
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  19.  62
    The True and the False.Stephen Mumford - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):263 – 269.
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  20.  64
    Evidence Based on What?Rani Lill Anjum, Roger Kerry & Stephen D. Mumford - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (6):E11-E12.
  21. Spoils to the Vector - How to Model Causes If You Are a Realist About Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - The Monist 94 (1):54-80.
    A standard way of representing causation is with neuron diagrams. This has become popular since the influential work of David Lewis. But it should not be assumed that such representations are metaphysically neutral and amenable to any theory of causation. On the contrary, this way of representing causation already makes several Humean assumptions about what causation is, and which suit Lewis’s programme of Humean Supervenience. An alternative of a vector diagram is better suited for a powers ontology. Causation should be (...)
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  22.  91
    A New Argument Against Compatibilism.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2013 - Analysis (1):ant095.
    If one’s solution to the free will problem is in terms of real causal powers of agents then one ought to be an incompatibilist. Some premises are contentious but the following new argument for incompatibilism is advanced: 1. If causal determinism is true, all events are necessitated2. If all events are necessitated, then there are no powers3. Free will consists in the exercise of an agent’s powersTherefore, if causal determinism is true, there is no free will; which is to say (...)
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  23.  51
    The Genius in Art and in Sport: A Contribution to the Investigation of Aesthetics of Sport.Stephen Mumford & Teresa Lacerda - 2010 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 37 (2):182-193.
    This paper contains a consideration of the notion of genius and its significance to the discussion of the aesthetics of sport. We argue that genius can make a positive aes- thetic contribution in both art and sport, just as some have argued that the moral content of a work of art can affect its aesthetic value. A genius is an exceptional inno- vator of successful strategies, where such originality adds aesthetic value. We argue that an original painting can have greater (...)
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  24. Kinds, Essences, Powers.Stephen Mumford - 2005 - Ratio 18 (4):420–436.
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  25. Dispositions and Ethics.Rani Lill Anjum, Svein Anders Noer Lie & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    What is the connection between dispositions and ethics? Some might think very little and those who are interested in dispositions tend to be metaphysicians whose interests are far from value. However, we argue in this paper that dispositions and dispositionality are central to ethics, indeed a precondition. Ethics rests on a number of notions that are either dispositional in nature or involve real dispositions or powers at work. We argue for a dispositional account of value that offers an alternative to (...)
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  26. Double Prevention and Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
    Does A cause B simply if A prevents what would have prevented B? Such a case is known as double prevention: where we have the prevention of a prevention. One theory of causation is that A causes B when B counterfactually depends on A and, as there is such a dependence, proponents of the view must rule that double prevention is causation.<br><br>However, if double prevention is causation, it means that causation can be an extrinsic matter, that the cause and effect (...)
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  27.  42
    The Tendential Theory of Sporting Prowess.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2014 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 41 (3):399-412.
    The results of sport would not interest us if either they were necessitated or they were a matter of pure chance. And if either case were true, the playing of sport would seem to make no sense either. This poses a dilemma. But there is something between these two options, namely the dispositional modality. Sporting prowess can be understood as a disposition towards victory and sporting liabilities a disposition towards defeat. The sporting contest then pits these net prowesses against each (...)
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  28. Powers, Non‐Consent and Freedom.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1):136-152.
    There are a number of dispositionalist solutions to the free will problem based on freedom consisting in the agent's exercise of a power. But if a subject a is free when they exercise their power P, there is an objection to be overcome from the possibility of power implantation. A brainwasher, rather than directly manipulating a subject's movements, can instead implant in them a desire, to be understood as a disposition to act, and allow the subject to exercise such a (...)
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  29. Conditional Probability From an Ontological Point of View.Rani Lill Anjum, Johan Arnt Myrstad & Stephen Mumford - manuscript
    This paper argues that the technical notion of conditional probability, as given by the ratio analysis, is unsuitable for dealing with our pretheoretical and intuitive understanding of both conditionality and probability. This is an ontological account of conditionals that include an irreducible dispositional connection between the antecedent and consequent conditions and where the conditional has to be treated as an indivisible whole rather than compositional. The relevant type of conditionality is found in some well-defined group of conditional statements. As an (...)
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  30. What We Tend to Mean.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2011 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 46 (1):20-33.
    In this paper a dispositional account of meaning is offered. Words might dispose towards a particular or ‘literal’ meaning, but whether this meaning is actually conveyed when expressed will depend on a number of factors, such as speaker’s intentions, the context of the utterance and the background knowledge of the hearer. It is thus argued that no meaning is guaranteed or necessitated by the words used.
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  31.  47
    Causation in Evidence-Based Medicine: In Reply to Strand and Parkkinen.Roger Kerry, Thor E. Eriksen, Svein A. Noer Lie, Stephen Mumford & Rani L. Anjum - 2014 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20 (6):985-987.
  32.  59
    Conditionals, Functional Essences and Martin on Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):86-92.
  33. 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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  34.  22
    Emotions and Aesthetics: An Inevitable Trade‐Off.Stephen Mumford - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 39 (2):267-279.
    Sport is a producer of both emotional and aesthetic experiences. But how do these relate? Does a spectator?s emotional engagement in sport enhance or hinder it as an aesthetic experience? And does the aesthetic perception of sport enhance or hinder the emotional experiences? These questions will be addressed with particular reference to the distinction that can be drawn between partisan and purist watchers of sport, and making use of thinking in contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of emotion. There are some reasons (...)
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  35.  84
    Intentionality and the Physical: A New Theory of Disposition Ascription.Stephen Mumford - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195):215-25.
    This paper has three aims. First, I aim to stress the importance of the issue of the dispositional/categorical distinction in the light of the evident failure of the traditional formulation, which is in terms of conditional entailment. Second, I consider one radical new alternative on offer from Ullin Place: intentionality as the mark of the dispositional. I explain the appeal of physical intentionality, but show it ultimately to be unacceptable. Finally, I suggest what would be a better theory. If we (...)
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  36. Causes as Powers. [REVIEW]Jennifer McKitrick, Anna Marmodoro, Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2013 - Metascience 22 (3):545-559.
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  37. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility - On Causation and Responsibility in Spider-Man, and Possibly Moore.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2011 - Critical Essays on "Causation and Responsibility".
    Omissions are sometimes linked to responsibility. A harm can counterfactually depend on an omission to prevent it. If someone had the ability to prevent a harm but didn’t, this could suffice to ground their responsibility for the harm. Michael S. Moore’s claim is illustrated by the tragic case of Peter Parker, shortly after he became Spider-Man. Sick of being pushed around as a weakling kid, Peter became drunk on the power he acquired from the freak bite of a radioactive spider. (...)
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  38. Normative and Natural Laws.Stephen Mumford - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (2):265-282.
    A theory of laws is developed that takes from E. J. Lowe the claim of natural laws being consistent with certain classes of exceptions. Neither abnormal cases, such as albino ravens, nor miracles falsify covering laws. This suggests that law statements cannot have the form of a universally quantified conditional. Lowe takes it that this is best explained by natural laws having normative force in the same way as moral laws and laws of the land. I argue that there is (...)
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  39.  20
    Ways of Watching Sport.Stephen Mumford - 2013 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 73:3-15.
    There are many ways that we can watch sport but not all of them are philosophically interesting. One can watch it enthusiastically, casually, fanatically or drunkenly. One might watch only because one has bet on the outcome. Some watch a friend or relative compete and have a narrow focus on one individual's performance. A coach or scout on the lookout for new talent may have completely different interests to a supporter of a team. But what of the ways of watching (...)
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  40. Causal Powers and Capacities.Stephen Mumford - 2009 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
     
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  41. Essences, Kinds, and Laws of Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2002 - Metascience 11 (3):324-328.
    Review of Brian Ellis's Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
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  42. Laws of Nature Outlawed.Stephen Mumford - 1998 - Dialectica 52 (2):83–101.
    SummaryThere are two rival ways in which events in the world can be explained: the covering law way and the dispositionalist way. The covering law model, which takes the law of nature as its fundamental explanatory unit, faces a number of renown difficulties. Rather than attempt to patch up this approach, the alternative dispositionalist strategy is recommended. On this view, general facts are dependent upon particular facts about what things do, rather than vice versa. This way of viewing the world (...)
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  43.  23
    In Praise of Teamwork.Stephen Mumford - 2015 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 42 (1):51-56.
    One often chooses to work collaboratively. Given that there is a cost in effort of doing so, it suggests that there also has to be some real advantage in teamwork. The idea that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts is applied to teams in terms of the non-linear composition of causes. One can thus do things together that one could not do alone or one can do them better. This supports Gaffney’s communitarian approach thereby explaining (...)
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  44.  65
    Relations All the Way Down? Against Ontic Structural Realism.Sebastián Briceño & Stephen Mumford - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Oxford University Press. pp. 198-217.
    According to Ladyman, the world consists of nothing more than relations that relate to no particulars. Could the world be nothing but structure? In this chapter it is argued that even though there are a number of problems with the standard view of relations accompanied by a particularist ontology, substituting for it a world of pure structure is not progress. A world of pure structure would be no more than a Platonic entity, lacking any resources for concretization. Consequently, there would (...)
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  45. Max Kistler: Causation and Laws of Nature. [REVIEW]Stephen Mumford - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):223-227.
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  46.  42
    Allegiance and Identity.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 31 (2):184-195.
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  47.  99
    Dispositions, Supervenience and Reduction.Stephen Mumford - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (177):419-438.
    Dispositions may be identical to their categorical bases but should we say, with Quine, that all properties are categorical or, with Popper, that all properties are dispositional? Both positions make implicit claims of ontological reduction but if this consists in nothing more than identity then, identity being a symmetrical relation, neither categorical nor dispositional monism is provided. A supervenience relation may be thought decisive, but if the identities are token- token, reduction is ruled out; if the identities are type- type (...)
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  48.  39
    Analysis of Scientific Truth Status in Controlled Rehabilitation Trials.Roger Kerry, Aurélien Madouasse, Antony Arthur & Stephen D. Mumford - 2013 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (4):617-625.
  49.  39
    Powers as Causal Truthmakers.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2014 - Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 3 (4):5--31.
    [EN]Most theories of causation assume that it must involve some kind of necessity, or that the cause must be entirely sufficient for the effect. Others have already suggested that it should be possible to get a theory of causation from a theory of powers or dispositions. Such a project is far from complete but even here we find that the key point in a dispositional theory of causation has been lacking. This paper attempts to establish some of the most important (...)
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  50. Function, Structure, Capacity.Stephen Mumford - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):76-80.
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