Causal Powers and Social Ontology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the paper by offering a diagnosis of why philosophers and social scientists have been tempted to think that there are powers in social realm.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Causal powers, Causation, Critical realism, Deontic powers, Dispositions, Emergence, Extrinsic, Intrinsic, Social ontology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Early online date2018 Mar 23
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018 Mar 23
Publication categoryResearch

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