Dispositions
Choi (Sungho) & Fara (Michael)
Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
Paper - Abstract

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Authors' Introduction

  1. A glass has certain dispositions, for example the disposition to shatter when struck. But what is this disposition? It seems on the one hand to be a perfectly real property, a genuine respect of similarity common to glasses, china cups, and anything else fragile. Yet on the other hand, the glass's disposition seems mysterious, ‘ethereal’ (as Goodman (1954) put it) in a way that, say, its size and shape are not. For its disposition, it seems, has to do only with its possibly shattering in certain conditions. In general, it seems that nothing about the actual behavior of an object is ever necessary for it to have the dispositions it has. Many objects differ from one another with respect to their dispositions in virtue of their merely possible behaviors, and this is a mysterious way for objects to differ.
  2. Much of the recent work on the topic of dispositions has been focused on attempts to dispel this mystery by explaining dispositions in other, more readily understandable terms. The topic of dispositions is interesting in its own right. But it derives further interest from the fact that appeals to dispositions have been made in just about every area of philosophy. There are explicitly dispositional analyses, for example, of mental states, of colors, of value, of properties, and of conditionals. Philosophers interested in just about anything should be interested in dispositions.

Contents
  1. Analyses of Disposition Ascriptions
    → 1.1 Conventional and Canonical Dispositions
    → 1.2 The Simple Conditional Analysis and Counterexamples
    → 1.3 Defending the Simple Conditional Analysis
    → 1.4 Sophisticated Analyses
    → 1.5 Analyzing conventional dispositions
  2. The Dispositional/Categorical Distinction
    → 2.1 Entailment
    → 2.2 Intrinsic Finks
  3. Categoricalism, Dispositionalism, and Laws of Nature
  4. Dispositions and Categorical Bases
    → 4.1 The Possibility of Bare Dispositions
    → 4.2 The Relation between Dispositions and their Bases
  5. The Intrinsicness of Dispositions
  6. The Causal Efficacy of Dispositions

Comment:

First published Wed Jul 26, 2006; substantive revision Thu Jan 5, 2012

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