Ideas from 'Causality and Properties' by Sydney Shoemaker [1980], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Identity, Cause and Mind' by Shoemaker,Sydney [OUP 2003,0-19-926470-8]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas


1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
One system has properties, powers, events, similarity and substance
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 2. Conceptual Analysis
Analysis aims at internal relationships, not reduction
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 1. Nature of Properties
Formerly I said properties are individuated by essential causal powers and causing instantiation
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
Genuine properties are closely related to genuine changes
Properties must be essentially causal if we can know and speak about them
To ascertain genuine properties, examine the object directly
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
Some truths are not because of a thing's properties, but because of the properties of related things
We should abandon the idea that properties are the meanings of predicate expressions
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
One power can come from different properties; a thing's powers come from its properties
Things have powers in virtue of (which are entailed by) their properties
Properties are functions producing powers, and powers are functions producing effects
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
Shoemaker says all genuine properties are dispositional
A causal theory of properties focuses on change, not (say) on abstract properties of numbers
'Square', 'round' and 'made of copper' show that not all properties are dispositional
The identity of a property concerns its causal powers
Properties are clusters of conditional powers
Could properties change without the powers changing, or powers change without the properties changing?
If properties are separated from causal powers, this invites total elimination
The notions of property and of causal power are parts of a single system of related concepts
Actually, properties are individuated by causes as well as effects
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers
Dispositional predicates ascribe powers, and the rest ascribe properties
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Universals concern how things are, and how they could be
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
Triangular and trilateral are coextensive, but different concepts; but powers and properties are the same
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
There is no subset of properties which guarantee a thing's identity
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
Possible difference across worlds depends on difference across time in the actual world
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / a. Conceivable as possible
'Conceivable' is either not-provably-false, or compatible with what we know?
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / b. Conceivable but impossible
It is possible to conceive what is not possible
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / a. Grue problem
Grueness is not, unlike green and blue, associated with causal potential
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 7. Seeing Resemblance
Hume needs a notion which includes degrees of resemblance
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
If causality is between events, there must be reference to the properties involved
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
If causal laws describe causal potentialities, the same laws govern properties in all possible worlds
If properties are causal, then causal necessity is a species of logical necessity
If a world has different causal laws, it must have different properties
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences
It looks as if the immutability of the powers of a property imply essentiality