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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Relations and Powers

Relations and Powers

(p.140) 16 Relations and Powers
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Cartesian rejection of powers was built on a rejection of the view of relations that underpinned them. One clear way, then, to “sanitize” powers — to make them acceptable within a mechanist ontology — would be to begin by treating relations and then move on to their subset, powers. This is what Locke and Boyle, with varying degrees of success, attempt. This chapter argues that Locke and Boyle use some familiar scholastic arguments to show that relations supervene on their relata and hence do not constitute an extra element in one's ontology. The case is more complicated, however, when it comes to Boyle.

Keywords:   relations, relata, supervenience, Aureoli, Ockham, Locke, Boyle

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