Henry of Ghent on the Relational Character of Causal Powers

Can Lowe, Gillian Shaftoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Henry of Ghent contends that a causal power is a relation that a substance bears to an act. Scholars have taken this relational account to commit Henry to the Megaric view that a power exists only if it is actualized. We argue that this reading is mistaken because, for Henry, a power is not a “real relation” between a substance and an act. Rather, it is a “relation of reason.” We then consider the worry that if a power is a relation of reason, it is a partially mind-dependent entity. We argue that this worry is unfounded because Henry’s claim that a power is a relation of reason is not so much a claim about what a power metaphysically speaking is but rather a claim about how we must conceptualize it.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Sept 2023


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