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Overpowering. (How the powers ontology has over-reached itself)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-883
Number of pages543
Issue number498
Early online date27 Apr 2016
Accepted/In press10 Nov 2015
E-pub ahead of print27 Apr 2016
PublishedApr 2016


King's Authors


Many authors have argued in favour of an ontology of properties as powers , and it has been widely argued that this ontology allows us to address certain philosophical problems in novel and illuminating ways, for example, causation, representation, intentionality, free will and liberty. I argue that the ontology of powers, even if successful as an account of fundamental natural properties, does not provide the insight claimed as regards the aforementioned non-fundamental phenomena. I illustrate this argument by criticizing the powers theory of causation presented by Mumford and Anjum (2011) and showing that related criticisms can be directed at other abuses of (the ontology of) powers.

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