Overpowering: How the powers ontology has overreached itself

Alexander Bird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
415 Downloads (Pure)


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 causa- tion, representation, intentionality, free will, and liberty. I argue that the ontol- ogy of powers, even if successful as an account of fundamental natural proper- ties, does not provide the insight claimed as regards the aforementioned non- fundamental phenomena. I focus on and criticise the powers theory of causa- tion presented by Mumford and Anjum (2011), and argue that related criticisms can be directed at other abuses of (the ontology of) powers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-383
Number of pages43
Issue number498
Early online date27 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016

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