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Powers: the no-successor problem

Pemberton, John (2021) Powers: the no-successor problem. Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 7 (2). 213 - 230. ISSN 2053-4477

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Identification Number: 10.1017/apa.2020.13


This essay considers the implications for the powers metaphysic of the no-successor problem: As there are no successors in the set of real numbers, one state cannot occur just after another in continuous time without there being a gap between the two. I show how the no-successor problem sets challenges for various accounts of the manifestation of powers. For powers that give rise to a manifestation that is a new state, the challenge of no-successors is similar to that faced on Bertrand Russell's analysis by causal relations. Powers whose manifestation is a processes and powers that manifest through time (perhaps by giving rise to changing through time) are challenged differently. To avoid powers appearing enigmatic, these challenges should be addressed, and I point to some possible ways this might be achieved. A prerequisite for addressing these challenges is a careful focus on the nature and timing of the manifesting and manifestation of powers.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2021 14:48
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 05:39

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