The Mind in Nature * By C. B. MARTIN [Book Review]

Analysis 69 (2):386-388 (2009)
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Abstract

The Mind in Nature has two central aims. First, that of defending a ‘basic ontology’. Second, having advanced a plausible ontological framework, to appeal to it to cast light on the status of intentionality and the nature of consciousness, paying particular attention to the question of what distinguishes conscious systems from those that are vegetative.Central to Martin's basic ontology is his acceptance of a realist conception of dispositionality. Contrary to the view of David Lewis and others, talk about a thing's dispositions cannot be analysed as talk about a thing's behaviour in a set of counterfactual circumstances. The account of dispositions that emerges from Martin's discussion is one according to which a specific disposition is either actual or it is not. To be actual a disposition need not be manifesting any manifestation. Unmanifesting dispositions are not, therefore, unactualized possibilia – a description which, he observes, is more fitting of unmanifested manifestations. In advancing a realist conception of dispositionality, Martin also opposes those who maintain that dispositional properties reduce to …

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