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Publication - Professor Alexander Bird


    How the powers ontology has overreached itself


    Bird, A, 2016, ‘Overpowering: How the powers ontology has overreached itself’. Mind, vol 125., pp. 341-383


    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.

    Full details in the University publications repository