How agent-causation works II: the irreducibility of powers

Erasmus Mayr

in Understanding Human Agency

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606214
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731631 | DOI:
How agent-causation works II: the irreducibility of powers

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It is shown that powers are both conceptually and ontologically irreducible to non-power (i.e. categorical) properties. This involves both rejecting the three most influential conceptual analyses of power-ascriptions – the simple conditional analysis, the causal conditional analysis, and Lewis' reformed causal conditional analysis – and the view that instantiations of powers are identical to instantiations of non-power properties. In the last section, it is shown that accepting powers as genuine and irreducible properties does not commit one to the doctrines of essentialism or ‘natural necessity’.

Keywords: powers; conceptual irreducibility; simple conditional analysis; causal conditional analysis; Lewis; ontological irreducibility; essentialism; natural necessity

Chapter.  14857 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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