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Singular Causation without Dispositions

García-Encinas, María José (2011) Singular Causation without Dispositions. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 26 (1). pp. 35-50. ISSN 2171-679X

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Is singular causation best understood within a dispositionalist framework? Although a positive answer has not yet been wholly developed, different philosophers have made some positive contributions suggesting that it is. Against these suggestions, I claim that any possible account of singular causation in terms of real, irreducible, dispositions conveys unsolvable flaws in its very metaphysical foundations.

First, I present two main constituents that I take to be necessary for any possible dispositional account of singular causation: (i) the possibility of causation without laws, which is a necessary condition for causal singularism, and (ii) a conception of dispositions as real, irreducible entities or properties. This results in a minimal dispositionalist view of singular causation. Second, I argue that, even if minimal, this view already has to face up to serious difficulties: (i) an ontological problem concerning the individuating conditions for dispositions in causal contexts, (ii) an instance of infinite regress, (iii) the loss of the relational character of causation and, as a corollary, (iv) the loss of the asymmetry of causation. Third, I argue that dispositional and dispositionalism that is becoming commonplace but which, I claim, is in fact a false choice. Finally, I sketch a possible picture of causality without laws and without disposition.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
García-Encinas, María José
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Causation; Dispositions; Singularism; Humeanism; Relation; Modality
Depositing User: Users 15304 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2014 23:29
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2014 23:29
Item ID: 10289
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1387/theoria.928
Date: February 2011
Page Range: pp. 35-50
Volume: 26
Number: 1
ISSN: 2171-679X

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