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  1. Dispositions and the principle of least action revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  2. Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.Ruth Groff - manuscript
    I argue that a powers-based metaphysics radically reconfigures the existing free will problematic. This is different from claiming that such an approach solves the ill-conceived problems that emerge from Humean-Kantian default commitments.
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  3. The Powers of Quantum Mechanics: A Metametaphysical Discussion of the “Logos Approach”.Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo & Jonas R. Becker Arenhart - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-26.
    This paper presents and critically discusses the “logos approach to quantum mechanics” from the point of view of the current debates concerning the relation between metaphysics and science. Due to its alleged direct connection with quantum formalism, the logos approach presents itself as a better alternative for understanding quantum mechanics than other available views. However, we present metaphysical and methodological difficulties that seem to clearly point to a different conclusion: the logos approach is on an epistemic equal footing among alternative (...)
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  4. Events and the regress of pure powers: Reply to Taylor.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Taylor has recently argued that adopting either the standard Kimian or Davidsonian approaches to the metaphysics of events quite directly solves the regress of pure powers. I argue, though, that on closer inspection Taylor’s proposal does not succeed, given either the Kimian or the Davidsonian account of events.
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  5. Review of Mumford and Anjum, Getting Causes from Powers. [REVIEW]Troy Cross - forthcoming - Dialectica.
  6. Are There Really Social Causes?August Faller - forthcoming - Philosophy of the Social Sciences.
    This article investigates the causal efficacy of social properties, which faces the following puzzle. First, for both intuitive and scientific reasons, it seems social properties have causal import. But, second, social properties are also characteristically extrinsic: to have some social property depends, in typical cases, on what one’s society is like around them. And, third, there is good reason to doubt that extrinsic properties make a genuine causal contribution. After elaborating on these three claims, I defend the following resolution to (...)
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  7. Challenging the identity theory of properties.Vassilis Livanios - forthcoming - Synthese 199 (1):5079-5105.
    The Identity Theory of properties (IDT) is an increasingly popular metaphysical view that aims to be a middle way between pure powerism and pure categoricalism. This paper’s goal is to highlight three major difficulties that IDT should address in order to be a plausible account of the nature of properties. First, although IDT needs a clear definition of the notion of qualitativity which is both adequate and compatible with the tenets of the theory, all the extant proposals fail to provide (...)
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  8. Critical notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Peter Menzies - forthcoming - Analysis.
    This book advocates dispositional essentialism, the view that natural properties have dispositional essences.1 So, for example, the essence of the property of being negatively charged is to be disposed to attract positively charged objects. From this fact it follows that it is a law that all negatively charged objects will attract positively 10 charged objects; and indeed that this law is metaphysically necessary. Since the identity of the property of being negatively charged is determined by its being related in a (...)
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  9. Could Mental Causation Be Invisible?David Robb - forthcoming - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), The Metaphysics of E.J. Lowe. Oxford University Press.
    E.J. Lowe has recently proposed a model of mental causation on which mental events are emergent, thus exerting a novel, downward causal influence on physical events. Yet on Lowe's model, mental causation is at the same time empirically undetectable, and in this sense is "invisible". Lowe's model is ingenious, but I don't think emergentists should welcome it, for it seems to me that a primary virtue of emergentism is its bold empirical prediction about the long-term results of human physiology. Here (...)
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  10. The Senses of Touch and Movement and the Argument for Active Powers.Roger Smith - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
  11. Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons from Barcan.Andrew Stephenson - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, (...)
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  12. Causal Powers and the Intentionality Continuum.William A. Bauer - 2022 - Cambridge University Press.
    Why does anything happen? What is the best account of natural necessity? In this book, William A. Bauer presents and defends a comprehensive account of the internal structure of causal powers that incorporates physical intentionality and information. Bauer explores new lines of thought concerning the theory of pure powers, the place of mind in the physical world, and the role of information in explaining fundamental processes. He raises probing questions about physical modality and fundamental properties, and explores the possibility that (...)
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  13. Disentangling Dispositions from Powers.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2022 - Dialogue 61 (1):107-121.
    Many powers-realists assume that the powers of objects are identical with the dispositions of objects and, hence, that ‘power’ and ‘disposition’ are interchangeable. In this article, I aim to disentangle dispositions from powers with the goal of getting a better sense of how powers and dispositions relate to one another. I present and defend a modest realism about dispositions built upon a standard strong realism about powers. I argue that each correct disposition-ascription we can make of an object is made (...)
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  14. The Possibility of Emergent Conscious Causal Powers.Lok-Chi Chan & Andrew James Latham - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):195-201.
    ABSTRACT Lewtas [2017] recently articulated an argument claiming that emergent conscious causal powers are impossible. In developing his argument, Lewtas makes several assumptions about emergence, phenomenal consciousness, categorical properties, and causation. We argue that there are plausible alternatives to these assumptions. Thus, the proponent of emergent conscious causal powers can escape Lewtas’s challenge.
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  15. Unmanifested powers and universals.Ashley Coates - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-22.
    According to a well-known argument against dispositional essentialism, the nature of unmanifested token powers leaves dispositional essentialists with an objectionable commitment to the reality of non-existent entities. The idea is that, because unmanifested token powers are directed at their non-existent token manifestations, they require the reality of those manifestations. Arguably the most promising response to this argument works by claiming that, if properties are universals, dispositional directedness need only entail the reality of actually existing manifestation types. I argue that this (...)
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  16. Tropes, Unmanifested Dispositions and Powerful Qualities.Ashley Coates - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (5):2143-2160.
    According to a well-known argument, originally due to David Armstrong, powers theory is objectionable, as it leads to a ‘Meinongian’ ontology on which some entities are real but do not actually exist. I argue here that the right conclusion to draw from this argument has thus far not been identified and that doing so has significant implications for powers theory. Specifically, I argue that the key consequence of the argument is that it provides substantial grounds for trope powers theorists, but (...)
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  17. A Theory of Popular Power.Sandra Leonie Field - 2022 - Journal of Social and Political Philosophy 1 (2):136-151.
    I propose a theory of popular power, according to which a political order manifests popular power to the extent it robustly maintains an egalitarian basic structure. There are two parts to the theory. First, the power of a political order lies in the basic structure's robust self-maintenance. Second, the popularity of the political order’s power lies in the equality of relations between the society's members. I will argue that this theory avoids the perverse consequences of some existing radical democratic theories (...)
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  18. New powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2022 - Synthese 200 (384):1-30.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  19. Powers, Processes, and Time.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Erkenntnis (6):1-25.
    In this paper I argue that even the most radical metaphysics of powers (such as that adopted by Mumford & Anjum, Cartwright, or Groff) are compatible with eternalism. I first offer a taxonomy of powers ontologies, and attempt to characterise the difference between moderate and radical powers ontologies – the latter are characterised by an emphasis on production and dynamicity. I consider an argument by C. Friebe to the effect that the productive character of powers is inconsistent with Eternalism and (...)
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  20. Formal Causes for Powers Theorists.Giacomo Giannini & Stephen Mumford - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 87-106.
    In this paper we examine whether and how powers ontologies can back formal causation. We attempt to answer three questions: i) what is formal causation; ii) whether we need formal causation, and iii) whether formal causation need powers and whether it can be grounded in powers. We take formal causal explanations to be explanations in which something's essence features prominently in the explanans. Three kinds of essential explanations are distinguished: constitutive, consequential, and those singling out something's propria. This last kind (...)
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  21. Pure Powers Are Not Powerful Qualities.Joaquim Giannotti - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (1):(A2)5-29.
    There is no consensus on the most adequate conception of the fundamental properties of our world. The pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities claim to be promising alternatives to categoricalism, the view that all fundamental properties essentially contribute to the qualitative make-up of things that have them. The pure powers view holds that fundamental properties essentially empower things that have them with a distinctive causal profile. On the identity theory, fundamental properties are dispositional as well as (...)
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  22. The Identity Theory of Powers Revised.Joaquim Giannotti - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (3):603-621.
    Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a (...)
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  23. Phenomenal roles: a dispositional account of bodily pain.Simone Gozzano - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8091-8112.
    In this paper I argue that bodily pain, as a phenomenal property, is an essentially and substantial dispositional property. To this end, I maintain that this property is individuated by its phenomenal roles, which can be internal -individuating the property per se- and external -determining further phenomenal or physical properties or states. I then argue that this individuation allows phenomenal roles to be organized in a necessarily asymmetrical net, thereby overcoming the circularity objection to dispositionalism. Finally, I provide reasons to (...)
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  24. The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - 2021 - In Stathis Psillos, Henrik Lagerlund & Benjamin Hill (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 168-185.
    Powers, capacities and dispositions (in what follows I will use these terms synonymously) have become prominent in recent debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy. In this paper I will analyse in some detail a well-known argument from scientific practice to the existence of powers/capacities/dispositions. According to this argument the practice of extrapolating scientific knowledge from one kind of situation to a different kind of situation requires a specific interpretation of laws of nature, namely as attributing (...)
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  25. A Powerful Particulars View of Causation.Rögnvaldur D. Ingthorsson - 2021 - New York: Routledge.
    This Open Access book (see link to Taylor & Francis below) critically examines the recent discussions of powers and powers-based accounts of causation. The author then develops an original view of powers-based causation that aims to be compatible with the theories and findings of natural science. Recently, there has been a dramatic revival of realist approaches to properties and causation, which focus on the relevance of Aristotelian metaphysics and the notion of powers for a scientifically informed view of causation. In (...)
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  26. Powers: A History.Julia Jorati (ed.) - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why does a wine glass break when you drop it, whereas a steel goblet does not? The answer may seem obvious: glass, unlike steel, is fragile. This is an explanation in terms of a power or disposition: the glass breaks because it possesses a particular power, namely fragility. Seemingly simple, such intrinsic dispositions or powers have fascinated philosophers for centuries. A power's central task is explaining why a thing changes in the ways that it does, rather than in other ways: (...)
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  27. Artistic Objectivity: From Ruskin’s ‘Pathetic Fallacy’ to Creative Receptivity.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (4):505-526.
    While the idea of art as self-expression can sound old-fashioned, it remains widespread—especially if the relevant ‘selves’ can be social collectives, not just individual artists. But self-expression can collapse into individualistic or anthropocentric self-involvement. And compelling successor ideals for artists are not obvious. In this light, I develop a counter-ideal of creative receptivity to basic features of the external world, or artistic objectivity. Objective artists are not trying to express themselves or reach collective self-knowledge. However, they are also not disinterested (...)
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  28. Dispositional monism and the ontological distinction between unmanifested and manifested powers.Vassilis Livanios - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):89-99.
    The vast majority of metaphysicians agree that powers (in contrast to categorical properties) can exist unmanifested. This paper focuses on the ontological distinction between unmanifested and manifested powers underpinning that fact and has two main aims. First, to determine the proper relata of the distinction and second, to show that an unrestricted version of dispositional monism faces serious difficulties to accommodate it. As far as the first aim is concerned, it is argued that the distinction in question, in order to (...)
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  29. Introduction to the Special Issue on Form, Structure and Hylomorphism.Anna Marmodoro & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 11):S2647-S2656.
    We summarize in this introduction the contents of all the contributions included in Synthese special issue on form, structure and hylomorphism. Moreover, we provide an exhaustive bibliography of recent research on these topics.
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  30. Teleological powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):336-358.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 4, Page 336-358, December 2021.
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  31. Functional Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 124-148.
    I introduce functional powers, i.e., causal powers that play the role of functions. In the first section, I characterize functions and present some desiderata for a good theory of functions. In the second section, I make some assumptions about the ontology of powers, teleology and structures-that will be helpful in order to ground my account of functional powers. In the third section, sixteen different types of functional powers are examined. All such types of functional powers will exhaustively contribute to performing (...)
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  32. Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature.William Simpson, Koons Robert & James Orr (eds.) - 2021 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Despite the growing interest in Aristotelian approaches to contemporary philosophy of science, few metaphysicians have engaged directly with the question of how a neo-Aristotelian metaphysics of nature might change the landscape for theological discussion concerning theology and naturalism, the place of human beings within nature, or the problem of divine causality. The chapters in this volume are collected into three thematic sections: Naturalism and Nature, Mind and Nature, and God and Nature. By pushing the current boundaries of neo-Aristotelian metaphysics to (...)
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  33. Grounding theories of powers.Matthew Tugby - 2021 - Synthese 198 (12):11187-11216.
    Necessitarianism, as we shall use the term, is the view that natural properties and causal powers are necessarily connected in some way. In recent decades the most popular forms of necessitarianism have been the anti-Humean powers-based theories of properties, such as dispositional essentialism and the identity theory. These versions of necessitarianism have come under fire in recent years and I believe it is time for necessitarians to develop a new approach. In this paper I identify unexplored ways of positing metaphysically (...)
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  34. What Hume Didn't Notice About Divine Causation.Timothy Yenter - 2021 - In Gregory E. Ganssle (ed.), Philosophical Essays on Divine Causation. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 158-173.
    Hume’s criticisms of divine causation are insufficient because he does not respond to important philosophical positions that are defended by those whom he closely read. Hume’s arguments might work against the background of a Cartesian definition of body, or a Malebranchian conception of causation, or some defenses of occasionalism. At least, I will not here argue that they succeed or fail against those targets. Instead, I will lay out two major deficiencies in his arguments against divine causation. I call these (...)
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  35. Contemporary Hylomorphisms: On the Matter of Form.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy Today 2 (2):113-144.
    As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...)
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  36. Making sense of powerful qualities.Ashley Coates - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8347-8363.
    According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort (...)
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  37. Introduction: Mental Powers.Matteo Grasso & Anna Marmodoro - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1017-1020.
    The metaphysics of powers (Shoemaker, 1980; Mumford, 2004; Marmodoro, 2009; Heil, 2012 among many others) is a promising conceptual framework that has been successfully put to use in many philosophical and scientific domains, but surprisingly its potential applications in the contemporary philosophy of mind are still under-investigated. This thematic issue aims to show that power ontology has implications concerning major questions in the contemporary philosophy of mind, such as: what is the metaphysical relationship between consciousness and the physical? Are phenomenal (...)
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  38. Causal powers and social ontology.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1357-1377.
    Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the paper by offering a diagnosis of why philosophers and social scientists have been tempted to think that there are powers in (...)
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  39. Powers, dispositions and laws of nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  40. Belief as the Power to Judge.Nicholas Koziolek - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1167-1176.
    A number of metaphysicians of powers have argued that we need to distinguish the actualization of a power from the effects of that actualization. This distinction, I argue, has important consequences for the dispositional theory of belief. In particular, it suggests that dispositionalists have in effect been trying to define belief, not in terms of its actualization, but instead in terms of the effects of its actualization. As a general rule, however, powers are to be defined in terms of their (...)
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  41. Soft selling a powers-friendly ontology: N. E. Williams: The powers metaphysic. Oxford: OUP, 2019, 266 pp, £55.00 HB. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metascience 29 (2):341-344.
  42. Dispositional Pluralism. [REVIEW]Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (281):881-883.
    Dispositional Pluralism. By McKitrick Jennifer.
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  43. Powerful Qualities Beyond Identity Theory.Vassilis Livanios - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (2):279-295.
    Until recently, the powerful qualities view about properties has been effectively identified with the so-called identity theory. Yet, the difficulties that the latter faces have led some metaphysicians to propose new versions of the powerful qualities view. This paper discusses the prospects of three such versions: the compound view, the higher-order properties theory and the dual aspect account. It is argued that the compound view is in fact property dualism in disguise, while the higher-order properties theory does not by itself (...)
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  44. Emergent Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1031-1044.
    I shall introduce at the beginning of the paper a characterization of strong ontological emergence. According to it, roughly, something strongly emerges from some other thing iff the former depends in some respect on the latter and it some independent of it in some other respect. Afterwards, I shall present my own formulation of strong emergence, which is based on the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a causal power. Causal powers are the entities to be primarily (...)
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  45. Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  46. Why all classical theists should believe in physical premotions, but it doesn’t really matter.James Dominic Rooney - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (2):139-166.
    “Physical premotion” is a concept associated with Baroque Catholic theological debates concerning grace and freedom. In this paper, I present an argument that the entities identified in this debate, physical premotions, are necessary for any classical theist’s account of divine causality. A “classical theist” is a theist who holds both that God is simple, that is, without inhering properties, and that humans and God are both free in the incompatibilist sense. In fact, not only does the acceptance of physical premotions (...)
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  47. Hume's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Physical Science.Matias Slavov - 2020 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This book contextualizes David Hume's philosophy of physical science, exploring both Hume's background in the history of early modern natural philosophy and its subsequent impact on the scientific tradition.
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  48. Agency as a Two-Way Power: A Defence.Helen Steward - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):342-355.
    This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...)
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  49. Free Will and Mental Powers.Niels van Miltenburg & Dawa Ometto - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1155-1165.
    In this paper, we investigate how contemporary metaphysics of powers can further an understanding of agent-causal theories of free will. The recent upsurge of such ontologies of powers and the understanding of causation it affords promises to demystify the notion of an agent-causal power. However, as we argue pace, the very ubiquity of powers also poses a challenge to understanding in what sense exercises of an agent’s power to act could still be free—neither determined by external circumstances, nor random, but (...)
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  50. Perceiving Potentiality: A Metaphysics for Affordances.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1177-1191.
    According to ecological psychology, animals perceive not just the qualities of things in their environment, but their affordances: in James Gibson’s words, ’what things furnish, for good or ill’. I propose a metaphysics for affordances that fits into a contemporary anti-Humean metaphysics of powers or potentialities. The goal is to connect two debates, one in the philosophy of perception and one in metaphysics, that stand to gain much from each other.
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