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Grounding theories of powers.

Tugby, Matthew (2021) 'Grounding theories of powers.', Synthese., 198 (12). pp. 11187-11216.

Abstract

Necessitarianism, as we shall use the term, is the view that natural properties and causal powers are necessarily connected in some way. In recent decades the most popular forms of necessitarianism have been the anti-Humean powers-based theories of properties, such as dispositional essentialism and the identity theory. These versions of necessitarianism have come under fire in recent years and I believe it is time for necessitarians to develop a new approach. In this paper I identify unexplored ways of positing metaphysically necessary connections in nature, using the concepts of grounding and essential dependence. For example, I show that one could be a necessitarian by insisting that the properties of things necessarily ground their powers, and that one can maintain this while rejecting dispositional essentialism. Using different combinations of claims about grounding and essential dependence (or lack thereof), I map out a spectrum of new positions and compare them to previous theories of natural modality. Some of these positions are compatible with Humean metaphysics (given certain readings of Hume’s Dictum) while others are not. The overall aim of the paper is to provide a new metaphysical framework for understanding theories of powers and thereby launch a new necessitarian research programme.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-02781-2
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:06 July 2020
Date deposited:05 August 2020
Date of first online publication:22 July 2020
Date first made open access:05 August 2020

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