Neil Williams: "Powers: Necessity and Neighbourhoods"

Neil Williams (Buffalo): "Powers: Necessity and Neighbourhoods". Listen to the talk here.


The typical understanding of powers—according to which they have their effects necessarily—has recently come under attack. The threat of imagined counterfactual scenarios (wherein the power is exercised but the characteristic manifestation does not ensue) has led some to question the traditional picture, and prompted others to give it up entirely. But this defection has been too hasty: that exercising powers produce their manifestations necessarily ranks highly among the most attractive features of the powers metaphysic, and should not be discarded lightly. Moreover, the arguments against necessity are founded upon assumptions that the friend of powers is at liberty to reject. I show how the anti-necessitarian arguments can be avoided, and thus how necessity can be restored.