In Ruth Groff (ed.), Revitalizing Causality: Realism About Causality in Philosophy and Social Science. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 153-162 (2008)

Authors
Anjan Chakravartty
University of Miami
Abstract
A groundswell of recent work in philosophy has sought to revitalize the analysis of causation by appealing to "active principles" such as powers, dispositions, capacities, tendencies, and propensities. These principles are described in a realist and rather Aristotelian fashion, in stark contrast to the deflationary and linguistic accounts of such principles characteristic of Humean thought and empiricist thinking more generally. Natures, essences, powers, and de re necessity are back in the analysis of causation. I do not argue in this paper for the plausibility of the revitalization project in general; instead, I explain how I think one aspect of it must be understood if the project is to be plausible. I suggest that those who are moved to resist Humean austerity and embrace a realism about things such as causal powers should take care in how they formulate this realism. Some Aristotelian notions, such as the concept of a causal power, may well be useful to modern studies of causation. Others, such as the notion that causal powers are determined by essences which comprise the natures of things, are outmoded in many sciences today. This paper focuses specifically on the notions of power and essence in the context of causation. Contra some of the most important recent proponents of the revitalization project, I contend that causal generalizations are not generally best understood as determined by the essential properties of natural kinds. How a member of a kind (natural or otherwise) behaves causally may be a function of its causal powers, but such powers need not constitute anything like the "essence" of a kind. 1. Revitalizing causation with dispositional essences 2. Causal behaviour in kinds without essences 3. Causal powers and inessential distributions
Keywords Causal Powers  Hume  Aristotle  Empiricism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2008
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Symmetries, Dispositions and Essences.Vassilios Livanios - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):295 - 305.
Introduction to the Special Issue.Ruth Groff - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):267-276.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
44 ( #256,967 of 2,505,624 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #209,579 of 2,505,624 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes