Powers: A Study in Metaphysics

Hardcover | December 9, 2003

byGeorge MolnarEditorStephen Mumford

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George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems of contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics. This alternative would have real causal powers at its centre. Molnar set about developing a thorough account of powers that mightpersuade those who remained, perhaps unknowingly, in the grip of Humean assumptions. He succeeded in producing something both highly focused and at the same time wide-ranging. He showed both that the notion of a power was central and that it could serve to dispel a number of long-standingphilosophical problems.Molnar's account of powers is as realist as any that has so far appeared. He shows that dispositions are as real as any other properties. Specifically, they do not depend for their existence on their manifestations. Nevertheless, they are directed towards such manifestations. Molnar thusappropriates the notion of intentionality, from Brentano, and argues that it is the essential characteristic of powers. He offers a persuasive case for there being some basic and ungrounded powers, thus ruling out the reducibility of the dispositional to the non-dispositional. However, he does allowthat there are non-power properties as well as power properties. In this respect, his final position is dualistic.This is contemporary metaphysics of the highest quality. It is a work that was almost complete when its author died. It has been edited for publication by another specialist in the subject, Stephen Mumford, who has also provided an introduction that will allow non-specialists to become acquaintedwith the issues. David Armstrong, one of the greatest living metaphysicians and personal friend of George Molnar, has provided a Foreword.

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From the Publisher

George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems of contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics. This alternative would have real causal powers at its centre. Molnar set about developing a thorough account of powers that mightpersuade those who remained, perhaps unknowin...

George Molnar is formerly in the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney. Stephen Mumford is in the Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:252 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.75 inPublished:December 9, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019925978X

ISBN - 13:9780199259786

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`In this probing little book, George Molnar rightly places the topic of causal power at the center of a proper understanding of many basic issues in metaphysics. ... Its scope and clarity of argument should enable one to assess the general prospects of his modalized vision of reality, whilealso providing a fine point of departure for finer-grained research programs.'Timothy O'Connor, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews