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Reconsidering Causal PowersHistorical and Conceptual Perspectives$
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Henrik Lagerlund, Benjamin Hill, and Stathis Psillos

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198869528

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198869528.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Powers, Possibilities, and Time

Powers, Possibilities, and Time

Notes for a Programme

(p.68) 2 Powers, Possibilities, and Time
Reconsidering Causal Powers

Calvin G. Normore

Oxford University Press

Of equally fundamental importance to the current debate over causal powers are its Megaric consequences, the connection between powers and modality. One of the central motivations for adopting a powers ontology is said to be the support causal powers provide for grounding and explaining alternative possibilities. Calvin Normore provides a robust defence of this idea by defending the deeper thesis that time makes a difference for modalities because the existence of powers at a time impose formal constraints on the structural conditions governing the accessibility relation between the actual and the possible. Some alternative states of affairs are not genuine possibilities in the actual world, he argues, because of the powers that obtain in the actual world. Normore, moreover, roots his defence of this thesis in the medieval debate between Scotus and Ockham over whether what is possible is possibly actual (Scotus maintained ‘no it need not be’, whereas Ockham maintained ‘yes it had to be’).

Keywords:   John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Megaric consequences, possibility, accessibility relation, Auriol’s Principle, powers

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