Causal Powers

ISBN : 9780198796572

Jonathan D. Jacobs
256 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Causal powers are ubiquitous. Electrons are negatively charged; they have the power to repel other electrons. Water is a solvent; it has the power to dissolve salt. We use concepts of causal powers and their relatives-dispositions, capacities, abilities, and so on-to describe the world around us, both in everyday life and in scientific practice. But what is it about the world that makes such descriptions apt? On one view, the neo-Humean view, there is nothing intrinsic about, say, negative charge, that makes its bearers have the power to repel other negatively charged particles. Rather, matters extrinsic to negative charge, the patterns and regularities in which negatively charged particles are embedded, fix the powers its bearers have. But on a different view, the anti-Humean view, causal powers are intrinsically powerful, bringing with them their own causal, nomic, and modal nature independent of extrinsic patterns and regularities-even fixing those patterns and regularities. This collection brings together new and important work by both emerging scholars and those who helped shape the field on the nature of causal powers, and the connections between causal powers and other phenomena within metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. Contributors discuss how one who takes causal powers to be in some sense irreducible should think about laws of nature, scientific practice, causation, modality, space and time, persistence, and the metaphysics of mind.


1: Introduction, Jonathan D. Jacobs

Part 1. Science and Laws of Nature
2: Causal Powers: Why Humeans Can't Even Be Instrumentalists, Nancy Cartwright
3: Saving the Scientific Phenomena: What Powers Can and Cannot Do, Anjan Chakravartty
4: Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws, Heather Demarest

Part 2. Causation and Modality
5: Aristotelian Powers at Work: Reciprocity without Symmetry in Causation, Anna Marmodoro
6: Mutual Manifestation and Martin's Two Triangles, Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum
7: Real Modalities, John Heil
8: Nine Problems (and Even More Solutions) for Powers Accounts of Possibility, Timothy Pawl

Part 3. Space, Time, and Persistence
9: Manifesting Time and Space: Background-Free Physical Theories, Alexander Bird
10: Powerful Perdurance: Linking Parts with Powers, Neil E. Williams

Part 4. Mind
11: Conflicts of Desire: Dispositions and the Metaphysics of Mind, Lauren Ashwell
12: Colors and Appearances as Powers and Manifestations, Max Kistler
13: Must Functionalists Be Aristotelians, Robert C. Koons and Alexander Pruss
14: Power for the Mental as Such, David Robb


Jonathan D. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. His work is primarily in metaphysics (focused on causal powers and their connection with causation, laws of nature, modality, and free will) and philosophy of religion. He has published articles in Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, and The Monist, among other places.