Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 30, 2015

Power Individuation: A New Version of the Single-Tracking View

Michał Głowala
From the journal Metaphysica


The paper answers three questions concerning power individuation: Can one power have various manifestations? If so, do they have to be unified in some way? If so, how exactly do they have to be unified? After a review of contemporary standpoints (Molnar, Lowe, Williams) I present a version of single-tracking view (inspired by Aquinas’s views on the individuation of powers) which is significantly different from contemporary single-tracking proposals of Molnar and Lowe. The main idea is that different sorts of powers have distinct ways of producing their manifestations, so a pair of different manifestations may require distinct powers of one kind, but just one and the same power of another kind. This suggests the form of the unifying description specific for powers. I argue (taking into account some alleged counterexamples) that all the manifestations of one power of some kind must fall under this sort of unifying description.


Anscombe, G. E. M.1981. “Under a Description.” In Metaphysics and Philosophy of Mind (Collected Philosophical Papers of G. E. M. Anscombe), edited by G. E. M.Anscombe, 2:20819. Oxford: Blackwell.Search in Google Scholar

AquinasT.1980. Opera Omnia, Curante R. Busa SI. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.Search in Google Scholar

Arriaga, R. de. 1639. Cursus Philosophicus. Paris: Jacobus Quesnel.Search in Google Scholar

Cartwright, N.1983. How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford: Clarendon Press.10.1093/0198247044.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Handfield, T.2010. “Dispositions, Manifestations, and Causal Structure.” In The Metaphysics of Powers. Their Grounding and Their Manifestations, edited by A.Marmodoro.New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Heil, J.2005. “Dispositions.” Synthese144 (3):34356.10.1007/s11229-005-5864-3Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E. J.2004. “Review of Powers. A Study in Metaphysics by George Molnar.” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science55 (4):81722.10.1093/bjps/55.4.817Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E. J.2010. “On the Individuation of Powers.” In The Metaphysics of Powers, edited by A.Marmodoro.New York: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Lowe, E. J.2011. “How Not to Think of Powers. A Deconstruction of the ‘Dispositions and Conditionals’ Debate.” The Monist94 (1):1933.10.5840/monist20119412Search in Google Scholar

Marmodoro, A.2007. “The Union of Cause and Effect in Aristotle: Physics III, 3.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy32:20532.Search in Google Scholar

Marmodoro, A.2015 (forthcoming). Aristotelian Powers at Work: Reciprocity Without Symmetry in Causation. In Causal Powers, edited by J.JacobsOxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

McKitrick, J.2010. “Manifestations as Effects.” In The Metaphysics of Powers. Their Grounding and Their Manifestations, edited by A.Marmodoro. New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Molnar, G.2003. Powers. A Study in Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Mumford, S.2004. Laws in Nature. London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203458426Search in Google Scholar

Mumford, S.2009. “Passing Powers Around.” The Monist92 (1):94111.10.5840/monist20099215Search in Google Scholar

Mumford, S., and R. L.Anjum. 2011. Getting Causes from Powers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695614.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Ockham, G. de. 1980. Quodlibeta Septem, edited by J. C.Wey. New York: Franciscan Institute, St Bonaventure.Search in Google Scholar

Oviedo, F. de.1651. “Cursus Philosophicus.” Philippus Borde, Laurentius Arnaud et Claudius Rigaud, Lyon.Search in Google Scholar

Runggaldier, E.2012. “Potentiality in Scholasticism (Potentiae) and the Contemporary Debate on Powers.” In Metaphysics: Aristotelian, Scholastic, Analytic, edited by L.Novák, D.Novotný, P.Sousedik, D.Svoboda.Heusenstamm: Ontos Verlag.10.1515/9783110322446.185Search in Google Scholar

Stump, E.2013. “Emergence, Causal Powers, and Aristotelianism in Metaphysics.” In Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism, edited by R.Groff, J.Greco.London: Routledge.10.4324/9780203075609-3Search in Google Scholar

Vetter, B.2013. “Multi-Track Dispositions.” The Philosophical Quarterly251:33052.10.1111/1467-9213.12024Search in Google Scholar

Williams, N. E.2011. “Putting Powers Back on Multi-Track.” Philosophia39:58195.10.1007/s11406-010-9293-2Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2015-6-30
Published in Print: 2015-9-18

©2015 by De Gruyter

Scroll Up Arrow