George Molnar came to see that the solution to a number of the problems of contemporary philosophy lay in the development of an alternative to Hume's metaphysics. This alternative would have real causal powers at its centre. Molnar set about developing a thorough account of powers that might persuade those who remained, perhaps unknowingly, in the grip of Humean assumptions. He succeeded in producing something both highly focused and at the same time wide-ranging. He
showed both that the notion of a power was central and that it could serve to dispel a number of long-standing philosophical problems.
Molnar's account of powers is as realist as any that has so far appeared. He shows that dispositions are as real as any other properties. Specifically, they do not depend for their existence on their manifestations. Nevertheless, they are directed towards such manifestations. Molnar thus appropriates the notion of intentionality, from Brentano, and argues that it is the essential characteristic of powers. He offers a persuasive case for there being some basic and ungrounded powers, thus ruling
out the reducibility of the dispositional to the non-dispositional. However, he does allow that there are non-power properties as well as power properties. In this respect, his final position is dualistic.
This is contemporary metaphysics of the highest quality. It is a work that was almost complete when its author died. It has been edited for publication by another specialist in the subject, Stephen Mumford, who has also provided an introduction that will allow non-specialists to become acquainted with the issues. David Armstrong, one of the greatest living metaphysicians and personal friend of George Molnar, has provided a Foreword.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 325 g
Dimensions: 215 x 140 x 15 mm
In this probing little book, George Molnar rightly places the topics of causal power at the center of a proper understanding of many basic issues in metaphysics ... Its scope and clarity of argument should enable one to assess the general prospects of his modalized vision of reality, while also providing a fine point of departure for finer-grained research programs. * Timothy O'Connor, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
Powers is a rich book. In the course of characterising and arguing for a posteriori dualism, Molnar contributes views on most of the important questions about dispositions ... Specialists in the metaphysics of dispositions...will surely value the book for its systematic coverage of the major topics. Non-specialists will also find the book useful, both as an introduction to the central philsophical issues surrounding dispositions, and as an example of a
systematic approach to metaphysics. * Michael Fara, Mind *