Dispositional Pluralism

In Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 186-203 (2009)
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In this paper, I make the case for the view that there are many different kinds of dispositions, a view I call dispositional pluralism. The reason I think that this case needs to be made is to temper the tendency to make sweeping generalization about the nature of dispositions that go beyond conceptual truths. Examples of such generalizations include claims that all dispositions are intrinsic, essential, fundamental, or natural.! In order to counter this tendency, I will start by noting the extent to which it is at odds with the semantics of dispositions, according to which there are many kinds of disposition ascriptions. From there, I will try to support a metaphysical claim that there are different kinds of dispositions. To bridge the gap between semantics and metaphysics, I appeal to epistemology. I'll consider the question "when do we have good reason to believe that a disposition ascription is true?" If our disposition ascriptions are true, then we are right about what kinds of dispositions things have, and what kinds of dispositions there are. I claim that our evidence for different kinds of dispositions is on a par; we have reason to believe that various kinds of dispositions are instantiated.



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Jennifer McKitrick
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

References found in this work

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1973 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Powers: A Study in Metaphysics.George Molnar - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Stephen Mumford.

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