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Four Disputes About Properties

Synthese 144 (3):309-320 (2005)

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  1. Response to Dumsday's “Palamism and Dispositionalism”.Flavius D. Raslau - forthcoming - Zygon.
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  • How to Power Encultured Minds.Vukov Joseph & Charles Lassiter - 2020 - Synthese 197:3507–3534.
    Cultural psychologists often describe the relationship between mind and culture as ‘dynamic.’ In light of this, we provide two desiderata that a theory about encultured minds ought to meet: the theory ought to reflect how cultural psychologists describe their own findings and it ought to be thoroughly naturalistic. We show that a realist theory of causal powers — which holds that powers are causally-efficacious and empirically-discoverable — fits the bill. After an introduction to the major concepts in cultural psychology and (...)
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  • How to Power Encultured Minds.Charles Lassiter & Joseph Vukov - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3507-3534.
    Cultural psychologists often describe the relationship between mind and culture as ‘dynamic.’ In light of this, we provide two desiderata that a theory about encultured minds ought to meet: the theory ought to reflect how cultural psychologists describe their own findings and it ought to be thoroughly naturalistic. We show that a realist theory of causal powers—which holds that powers are causally-efficacious and empirically-discoverable—fits the bill. After an introduction to the major concepts in cultural psychology and describing causal power realism, (...)
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  • Bradley’s Regress and Visual Content.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (2):155-172.
    According to the well-known Bradley’s Regress argument, one cannot explain the unity of states of affairs by referring to relations combining objects with properties. This argument has been widely discussed within analytic metaphysics, but has not been recognized as relevant for the philosophy of perception. I argue that the mainstream characterization of visual content is threatened by the Bradley’s Regress, and the most influential metaphysical solutions to the regress argument cannot be applied in the context of visual content. However, I (...)
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  • 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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  • The Question of Realism for Powers.Lorenzo Azzano - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):329-354.
    In recent years, a new dispute has risen to prominence: the dispute between realists and anti-realists about causal powers. Albeit sometimes overlooked, the meta-ontological features of this “question of realism for powers” are quite peculiar. For friends and foes of causal powers have characterized their contrasting views in a variety of different ways; as existence claims, as semantic or truth-making claims, as fundamentality claims, as claims about the nature of certain properties. Not only does this multiplicity of interpretations make it (...)
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  • Diogenes of Apollonia as a Material Panpsychist.Luca Dondoni - 2021 - Ancient Philosophy Today 3 (1):3-29.
    In my paper, I shall provide a reading of Diogenes of Apollonia such that his understanding of the metaphysics of differentiation and of individual ensoulment may constitute an ingenious answer to the problems of his time. To this extent, I will argue that Diogenes' worldview solves the difficulties of Anaxagoras' metaphysics and successfully integrates mentality in a causally closed conception of nature. Finally, I will suggest that a Diogenes-inspired approach might be relevant to treat some pressing concerns in the contemporary (...)
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  • Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Object.Bradley Rettler & Andrew M. Bailey - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1.
    One might well wonder—is there a category under which every thing falls? Offering an informative account of such a category is no easy task. For nothing would distinguish things that fall under it from those that don’t—there being, after all, none of the latter. It seems hard, then, to say much about any fully general category; and it would appear to do no carving or categorizing or dividing at all. Nonetheless there are candidates for such a fully general office, including (...)
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  • Object.Henry Laycock - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In The Principles of Mathematics, Russell writes: Whatever may be an object of thought, or may occur in any true or false proposition, or can be counted as one, I call a term. This, then, is the widest word in the philosophical vocabulary. I shall use as synonymous with it the words unit, individual and entity. The first two emphasize the fact that every term is one, while the third is derived from the fact that every term has being, i.e. (...)
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  • Dispositions.Michael Fara - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The glass vase on my desk is fragile. It should be handled with care because it it is likely to shatter or crack if it is knocked, dropped, or otherwise treated roughly. The vase has certain dispositions, for example the disposition to shatter when dropped. But what is this disposition? It seems on the one hand to be a perfectly real property, a genuine respect of similarity common to glass vases, china cups, ancient manuscripts, and anything else fragile. Yet on (...)
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  • Dispositions.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Donald Cary Williams.Keith Campbell, James Franklin & Douglas Ehring - 2013 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. pp. 0.
    Stanford Encyclopedia article surveying the life and work of D.C. Williams, notably in defending realism in metaphysics in the mid-twentieth century and in justifying induction by the logic of statistical inference.
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  • 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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  • The Dual Nature of Properties: The Powerful Qualities View Reconsidered.Joaquim Giannotti - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    Metaphysical orthodoxy holds that a privileged minority of properties carve reality at its joints. These are the so-called fundamental properties. This thesis concerns the contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of fundamental properties. In particular, it aims to answer two questions: What is the most adequate conception of fundamental properties? What is the “big picture” world-view that emerges by adopting such a conception? I argue that a satisfactory answer to both questions requires us to embrace a novel conception of powerful (...)
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  • 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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  • Instantiation as Partial Identity: Replies to Critics. [REVIEW]Donald L. M. Baxter - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (2):291-299.
    One of the advantages of my account in the essay “Instantiation as Partial Identity” was capturing the contingency of instantiation—something David Armstrong gave up in his experiment with a similar view. What made the contingency possible for me was my own non-standard account of identity, complete with the apparatus of counts and aspects. The need remains to lift some obscurity from the account in order to display its virtues to greater advantage. To that end, I propose to respond to those (...)
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  • 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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  • On the nature of quantum-chemical entities: the case of electron density.Jesus Alberto Jaimes Arriaga - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-13.
    An Aristotelian philosophy of nature offers an alternative to reduction for the conception of the inter-theoretical relationships between molecular chemistry and quantum mechanics. A basic ingredient for such an approach is an ontology of fundamental causal powers, and this work aims to develop such an ontology by drawing on quantum-chemical entities, particularly, the electron density. This notion is central to the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules, a theory of molecular structure developed by Richard F. W. Bader, which describes molecules (...)
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  • Properties: Qualities, Powers, or Both?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):55-80.
    Powers are popularly assumed to be distinct from, and dependent upon, inert qualities, mainly because it is believed that qualities have their nature independently of other properties while powers have their nature in virtue of a relation to distinct manifestation property. George Molnar and Alexander Bird, on the other hand, characterize powers as intrinsic and relational. The difficulties of reconciling the characteristics of being intrinsic and at the same time essentially related are illustrated in this paper and it is argued (...)
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  • 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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  • Ostrich tropes.Daniel Giberman - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-25.
    According to the cluster of theories in the metaphysics of properties known as ‘trope’ theories, properties are collections of particular qualitative instances. Though increasingly influential, the cluster is sufficiently diverse for there to be little agreement as to the prospects of its members. The present essay articulates and defends a conception of tropes as primitively qualitatively complex, somewhat in the vein of Quinean nominalist objects. After clarifying the relationships among tropes, properties, property exemplification, and property conferral, the essay discusses the (...)
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  • What Do Powers Do When They Are Not Manifested?Stathis Psillos - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (1):137-156.
    In the present paper, I offer a conceptual argument against the view that all properties are pure powers. I claim that thinking of all properties as pure powers leads to a regress. The regress, I argue, can be solved only if non-powers are admitted. The kernel of my thesis is that any attempt to answer the title question in an informative way will undermine a pure-power view of properties. In particular, I focus my critique on recent arguments in favour of (...)
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  • Towards a Unitary Case for Russellian Panpsychism.Luca Dondoni - 2021 - Philosophia 2021 (1):1-22.
    One of the most pressing challenges that occupy the Russellian panpsychist’s agenda is to come up with a way to reconcile the traditional argument from categorical properties (Seager, 2006; Alter & Nagasawa, 2015) with H. H. Mørch’s dispositionalism-friendly argument from the experience of causation (2014, 2018, 2020) — on the way to a unitary, all-encompassing case for the view. In this regard, Mørch claims that, via the commitment to the Identity theory of properties, one can consistently hold both panpsychist arguments (...)
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  • The Nature of Properties: Causal Essentialism and Quidditism.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (3):168-176.
    Properties seem to play an important role in causal relations. But philosophers disagree over whether or not properties play their causal or nomic roles essentially. Causal essentialists say that they do, while quidditists deny it. This article surveys these two views, as well as views that try to find a middle ground.
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  • Powerful Qualities and Pure Powers.Henry Taylor - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1423-1440.
    Many think that properties are powers. However, whilst some claim that properties are pure powers, others claim that properties are powerful qualities. In this paper, I argue that the canonical formulation of the powerful qualities view is no different from the pure powers view. Contrary to appearances, the two positions accept the same view of properties. Thus, the debate between them rests on an illusion. I draw out some consequences of this surprising result for issues over property individuation. Along the (...)
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  • Conceptualizing Causal Powers: Activity, Capacity, Essence, Necessitation.Ruth Porter Groff - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9881-9896.
    Talk of powers is muddled. Building upon Powers and capacities in philosophy: The new aristotelianism, Routledge, London, 2012a, pp 207–227), I disambiguate four senses of the term: powers construed as activity, as capacity/potentiality, as essence and as necessity, respectively, in an attempt to clarify what it is that realists about causal powers take themselves to be realists about.
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  • Dispositionality, Categoricity, and Where to Find Them.Lorenzo Azzano - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2949-2976.
    Discussions about dispositional and categorical properties have become commonplace in metaphysics. Unfortunately, dispositionality and categoricity are disputed notions: usual characterizations are piecemeal and not widely applicable, thus threatening to make agreements and disagreements on the matter merely verbal—and also making it arduous to map a logical space of positions about dispositional and categorical properties in which all parties can comfortably fit. This paper offers a prescription for this important difficulty, or at least an inkling thereof. This will be achieved by (...)
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  • Did God Do It? Metaphysical Models and Theological Hermeneutics.Benedikt Paul Göcke - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (2):215-231.
    I start by way of clarifying briefly the problem of special divine intervention. Once this is done, I argue that laws of nature are generalizations that derive from the dispositional behaviour of natural kinds. Based on this conception of laws of nature I provide a metaphysical model according to which God can realize acts of special divine providence by way of temporarily changing the dispositions of natural entities. I show that this model does not contradict scientific practice and is consistent (...)
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  • Pluralists About Pluralism? Versions of Explanatory Pluralism in Psychiatry.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2014 - In M. C. Galavotti, D. Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, Th Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), New Directions in Philosophy of Science (The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective Series). Springer. pp. 105-119.
    In this contribution, I comment on Raffaella Campaner’s defense of explanatory pluralism in psychiatry (in this volume). In her paper, Campaner focuses primarily on explanatory pluralism in contrast to explanatory reductionism. Furthermore, she distinguishes between pluralists who consider pluralism to be a temporary state on the one hand and pluralists who consider it to be a persisting state on the other hand. I suggest that it would be helpful to distinguish more than those two versions of pluralism – different understandings (...)
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  • Eschewing Entities: Outlining a Biology Based Form of Structural Realism.Steven French - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 371--381.
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  • Instantiation is Not Partial Identity.Nicholas Mantegani - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):697-715.
    In order to avoid the problems faced by standard realist analyses of the “relation” of instantiation, Baxter and, following him, Armstrong each analyze the instantiation of a universal by a particular in terms of their partial identity. I introduce two related conceptions of partial identity, one mereological and one non-mereological, both of which require at least one of the relata of the partial identity “relation” to be complex. I then introduce a second non-mereological conception of partial identity, which allows for (...)
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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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  • Laws, Dispositions, Memory: Three Hypotheses on the Order of the World.Joël Dolbeault - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (1):101-121.
    The more science progresses, the more it is evident that the physical world presents regularities. This raises a metaphysical problem: why is the world so ordered? In the first part of the article, I attempt to clarify this problem and justify its relevance. In the following three parts, I analyze three hypotheses already formulated in philosophy in response to this problem: the hypothesis that the order of the world is explained 1) by laws of nature, 2) by dispositions of the (...)
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  • Indiscernible Universals.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2020 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 16:89-110.
    Universals have traditionally thought to obey the identity of indiscernibles, that is, it has traditionally been thought that there can be no perfectly similar universals. But at least in the conception of universals as immanent, there is nothing that rules out there being indiscernible universals. In this paper, I shall argue that there is useful work indiscernible universals can do, and so there might be reason to postulate indiscernible universals. In particular, I shall argue that postulating indiscernible universals can allow (...)
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  • A Theory of Constitutive Tropes.Anthony Parisi - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Iowa
  • A Theory of Constitutive Tropes.Anthony Parisi - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Iowa
    The purpose of this work is to provide a metaphysical theory of properties and scientific laws. This sentence will require some unpacking. By a ‘metaphysical’ theory here, I mean a theory of what exists in the world. In this investigation I am primarily concerned with a theory of what properties there are in the world and the role they play in scientific laws. This may be contrasted with a linguistic or epistemic project, as it is not primarily about our language, (...)
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  • How to Welcome Spontaneous Manifestations.Jan Hauska - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):147-176.
    George Molnar’s contention that some dispositional properties are displayed without the aid of any activating conditions poses a challenge to the conditional analysis of dispositions. Since the invocation of activating conditions is regarded as a crucial feature of the analysis, spontaneous dispositions are believed to expose its inadequacy by eluding its scope. The challenge goes to the very heart of the conditional approach to dispositions, allegedly revealing a deep flaw in all its incarnations. Granting that there may be spontaneously manifestable (...)
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  • Dispositions.James M. Bucknell - 2015 - Dissertation, Univeristy of New South Wales
    This thesis proposes that key, competing theories of dispositions mistake and conflate how we identify, designate and talk about dispositions and dispositional terms for the nature of dispositions and the meaning of dispositional terms when they argue that: a) dispositions are extrinsic properties of their bearers (Boyle 1666) b) all properties are purely dispositional (Bird 2007) c) all properties are purely categorical (there are no dispositional properties) (Armstrong in AMP 1996) d) dispositional and categorical properties are separate and distinct properties (...)
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  • Same but Different.Anna-Sofia Maurin - 2005 - Metaphysica 6 (1):131-146.
    Paper responding to critique of Maurin (2002) presented by Herbert Hochberg in his “Relations, Properties and Particulars” (2004).
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  • Getting Causes From Powers By Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum.J. McKitrick - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):402-404.
  • Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs.D. Marquis - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):404-406.
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  • How (Not) To Be a Humean Structuralist.Kerry McKenzie - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 307--318.
  • Properties and Powers.Alexander J. Kelly - unknown
    This thesis concerns the relation between the fundamental properties and the powers they confer. The views considered are introduced in terms of their acceptance or rejection of the quiddistic thesis. Essentially the quiddistic thesis claims that properties confer the powers they do neither necessarily nor sufficiently. Quidditism is the view that accepts the quiddistic thesis. The other two views to be considered, the pure powers view and the grounded view reject the quiddistic thesis. The pure powers view supports its denial (...)
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  • Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (PUA). From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy (Mizrahi 2014), it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key (...)
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  • On the Possibility of Contigently Dispositional Properties.Vassilios Livanios - 2010 - Abstracta 6 (1):3-17.
    Metaphysicians who hold that there is an ontological distinction between two kinds of fundamental natural properties assume that properties are dispositional or non-dispositional necessarily. In contrast to this, I suggest that one can admit the existence of fundamental contingently dispositional properties. After some clarifications concerning the content of the suggested view, I respond to several objections regarding its intelligibility and viability and outline two of its important consequences.
     
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  • The Gap Problem Made Easy?Tien-Chun Lo - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):486-492.
    Byerly recently developed a new solution to the gap problem for cosmological arguments. His idea is that the best explanation for why the necessary being is found to have necessary existence is that it is a perfect being. I raise an objection to Byerly’s solution on the ground that there is some rival naturalistic explanation that is as good as Byerly s theistic explanation.
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  • Powerful Qualities, Phenomenal Concepts, and the New Challenge to Physicalism.Henry Taylor - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):53-66.
    Defenders of the phenomenal concept strategy have to explain how both physical and phenomenal concepts provide a substantive grasp on the nature of their referents, whilst referring to the very same experience. This is the ‘new challenge’ to physicalism. In this paper, I argue that if the physicalist adopts the powerful qualities ontology of properties then a new and powerful version of the phenomenal concept strategy can be developed, which answers the new challenge.
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  • Indiscernible Universals.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (6):604-624.
    Universals have traditionally thought to obey the identity of indiscernibles, that is, it has traditionally been thought that there can be no perfectly similar universals. But at least in the conception of universals as immanent, there is nothing that rules out there being indiscernible universals. In this paper, I shall argue that there is useful work indiscernible universals can do, and so there might be reason to postulate indiscernible universals. In particular, I shall argue that postulating indiscernible universals can allow (...)
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  • 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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