This volume is a collection of papers that advance our understanding of the metaphysics of powers — properties such as fragility and electric charge. The metaphysics of powers is a fast developing research field with fundamental questions at the forefront of current research, such as Can there be a world of only powers? What is the manifestation of a power? Are powers and their manifestations related by necessity? What are the prospects for dispositional accounts of causation? The papers focus on questions concerning the metaphysics of powers that cut across any particular subject-specific ontological domain -- whether philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, ethics, epistemology – investigating the metaphysical structure of powers, the nature of the manifestation of powers, the necessity or contingency of a power’s relation to its manifestations, and powers and causation. A number of authors also engage in discussion with Humean and neo-Humean treatments of causation, thereby making contributions to a larger metaphysical debate beyond powers. Additionally, the authors engage critically with the latest contributions to the debate on powers in the literature, thereby bringing together in a wholesome and analytical way the most recent and noteworthy theoretical developments in this research field.
"The strength and variety of the papers in this volume represents a maturity in the metaphysics of powers with a number of programs up and running—some of them seeking collaboration in vision, others locking horns over territory. It offers excellent depth for comparative reading and it’s a must read for anyone working in the ontology of powers today." – Duncan C. MacLean, Mount Royal University, Canada in Philosophy in Review
"Marmodoro's volume represents a refreshing turn in the literature on dispositions. [T]he impression that emerges from the book as a whole is one of a maturing movement in metaphysics, well past its reactionary, manifesto-penning stage and into a period of rapid, self-critical development. Anyone with an interest in the prospects for a disposition-based ontology should read it." –Troy Cross, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Introduction, Anna Marmodoro 1: On the Individuation of Powers, E.J. Lowe 2: Do Powers Need Powers to Make Them Powerful? From Pandispositionalism to Aristotle, Anna Marmodoro 3: Categories and the Ontology of Powers: A Vindication of the Identity Theory of Properties, Kristina Engelhard 4: Powerful Qualities, John Heil 5: Manifestations as Effects, Jennifer McKitrick 6: Puzzling Powers: The Problem of Fit, Neil Williams 7: Dispositions, Manifestations, and Causal Structure, Toby Handfield 8: Causal Powers and Categorical Properties, Brian Ellis 9: A Powerful Theory of Causation, Stephen Mumford and Rani Anjum 10: Causation and the Manifestation of Powers, Alexander Bird 11: Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism, Markus Schrenk Notes on Contributors Bibliography Index