Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Monist: January 2011, Vol. 94, No. 1

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Monist: January 2011, Vol. 94, No. 1

Article excerpt

Realization, Powers, and Property Identity, SYDNEY SHOEMAKER

How Not To Think of Powers: A Deconstruction of the "Dispositions and Conditionals" Debate, E.J. LOWE

Although conditional analyses of disposition statements have been subjected to sustained criticism in recent years, current philosophical theories of dispositions or powers still remain strongly influenced by the conditional-based approach. This is particularly reflected in the common assumption that dispositions always possess both "stimuli" and "manifestations," and also in the way in which the latter are typically understood. This paper explores the historical roots of this assumption and finds reason to reject both the assumption and the usual way of characterizing the "manifestations" of causal powers. The lesson is that we need to accept the language of powers as being in perfectly good order, as it is in everyday and scientific talk, rather than as being something that ideally stands in need of "analysis" in nonpower terms. Even philosophers who explicitly deny the possibility of providing a reductive analysis of power statements in nonpower terms often fail to recognize the malign influence of the reductivist approach upon their own accounts of powers.

Powers and the Realization Relation, JOHN HEIL

Many philosophers take it as a given that properties of the sort figuring in explanations in the special sciences are "multiply realized." This paper takes up an account of the realization relation advanced by Derk Pereboom, according to which "instances" of realized properties are wholly constituted by instances of their realizers. The idea is that this preserves the distinctness of realized properties, while allowing those properties a measure of causal efficacy. The paper raises doubts about the ultimate plausibility of this account of the realizing relation and about the realizing relation generally.

Spoils to the Vector: How to Model Causes if you are a Realist about Powers, STEPHEN MUMFORD and RANI LILL ANJUM

A standard way of representing causation is with neuron diagrams. This has become popular since the influential work of David Lewis. It should not be assumed, however, 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, which assumptions suit Lewis's programme of Humean Supervenience. …

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