Stepehn Mumford

Stephen Mumford: "Mutual Manifestation and Martin's Two Triangles"

Stephen Mumford (University of Nottingham) "Mutual Manifestation and Martin's Two Triangles". Listen to the talk here.


Analytic philosophers have in recent decades rediscovered powers as the basis for an all-encompassing metaphysics and philosophy of nature. What recommends the powers view is its explanatory utility, including a putative explanation of potentiality. Powers can be understood as the elements in the world that provide the grounding for potentiality in actuality. They can be productive of their manifestations but typically do so only in certain circumstances. This will explain why there can be some potentialities that are not actualised and also why there are some constraints on what can be. The powers account also makes potentialities a possible subject of scientific investigation as powers are to a degree empirically accessible. It is important, however, that we provide a plausible account of how powers are able to bring things about: how they able to make some of the potentialities actualities. A mutual manifestation model is preferred to the stimulus-response model of production. It was C. B. Martin who introduced the mutual manifestation model but it is argued that his account needs to be amended so that it resembles less mereological composition and more causation.