The Powers Metaphysic

ISBN : 9780198833574

Neil E. Williams
288 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Systematic metaphysics is defined by its task of solving metaphysical problems through the repeated application of single, fundamental ontology. The dominant contemporary metaphysic is that of neo-Humeanism, built on a static ontology typified by its rejection of basic causal and modal features. This book offers a radically distinct metaphysic, one that turns the status quo on its head. Starting with a foundational ontology of inherently causal properties known as 'powers', Neil E. Williams develops a metaphysic that appeals to powers in explanations of causation, persistence, laws, and modality. Powers are properties that have their causal natures internal to them: they are responsible for the effects in the world. A unique account of powers is advanced, one that understands this internal nature in terms of blueprint of potential interaction types. After the presentation of the powers ontology, Williams offers solutions to broad metaphysical puzzles, some of which take on different forms in light of the new tools that are available. The defence of the ontology comes from the virtues of metaphysic it can be used to develop. Particular attention is paid to the problems of causation and persistence, simultaneously solving them as is casts them in a new light.
The resultant powers metaphysic is offered as a systematic alternative to neo-Humeanism.


1 Revolutionary Metaphysics
2 The Neo-Humean Status Quo
3 Introducing Powers
4 Understanding Powers
5 The Powers Ontology: Monism & Dualism
6 Powers-Based Causation
7 Causal Oddities
8 Persistence Explained
9 A Dormitive Virtue?
10 Loose Ends


Neil E. Williams is Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Buffalo, where he has been working since 2005. Prior to this he obtained a PhD from Columbia University, an MA from Simon Fraser University, and a BA from the University of Calgary.