Causal powers are ubiquitous. Electrons are negatively charged;
they have the power to repel other electrons. Water is a solvent;
it has the power to dissolve salt. We use concepts of causal powers
and their relatives-dispositions, capacities, abilities, and so
on-to describe the world around us, both in everyday life and in
scientific practice. But what is it about the world that makes such
descriptions apt? On one view, the neo-Humean view, there is
nothing intrinsic about, say, negative charge, that makes its
bearers have the power to repel other negatively charged particles.
Rather, matters extrinsic to negative charge, the patterns and
regularities in which negatively charged particles are embedded,
fix the powers its bearers have. But on a different view, the
anti-Humean view, causal powers are intrinsically powerful,
bringing with them their own causal, nomic, and modal nature
independent of extrinsic patterns and regularities-even fixing
those patterns and regularities. This collection brings together
new and important work by both emerging scholars and those who
helped shape the field on the nature of causal powers, and the
connections between causal powers and other phenomena within
metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind.
Contributors discuss how one who takes causal powers to be in some
sense irreducible should think about laws of nature, scientific
practice, causation, modality, space and time, persistence, and the
metaphysics of mind.
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