Determinism and sporting prowess: A response to Mumford and Anjum

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In Getting Causes from Powers, Stephen Mumford and Rani Anjum published a novel approach to the metaphysics of dispositional properties, according to which causal powers are to be viewed as vectors. Recently (at the time of writing) they have employed a similar system to represent prowess in sport. In this paper, I discuss the Mumford/Anjum tendential theory of sporting prowess. I question their motivation for the tendencies account, concluding that (contra Mumford and Anjum) determinism would not take away from the enjoyment of spectator sports, so long as epistemic uncertainty is preserved. Nonetheless, I deem the tendencies theory of prowess a good one, so in addition, here I develop the Mumford/Anjum thesis, applying the multi-dimensional aspect they themselves apply to "complex causal situations" in their 2011 work on properties, to the philosophy of sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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