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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

The Return of Causal Powers?

The Return of Causal Powers?

(p.168) 7 The Return of Causal Powers?
Reconsidering Causal Powers

Andreas Hüttemann

Oxford University Press

Andreas Hüttemann disagrees with Hill and Ott regarding the relevance of the early modern critiques of causal powers for contemporary practitioners. He argues that the contemporary acceptance of powers and dispositions is insulated against the early modern criticism because the emergence of powers nowadays is not a ‘revival of’ or ‘return to’ the Aristotelian or scholastic version of causal powers. Hüttemann traverses two lines of argumentation in his defence of the contemporary metaphysics of powers. First, he maintains that the early modern critics utilized a version of causation that, because it was rooted in the doctrine of substantial forms, was quite strong and restrictive and that, consequently, their criticisms don’t apply to contemporary notions of powers, which utilize a counterfactual conception of causation. Then, he turns in a different direction to defend Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardie’s use of the Extrapolation Argument in favour of the postulation of dispositions and powers.

Keywords:   René Descartes, Francisco Suárez, Nicolas Malebranche, Louis de La Forge, powers, substantial forms

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