The cognition and information theoretic sciences have now been in existence for the better part of a century. In that time, their varied disciplines have undergone extensive maturation, honing their methods, constitutions, and evaluation techniques in the pursuit of academic rigor, while not losing sight of the practical influences that have served as their almost universal cornerstone. Meanwhile, this period has also been marked by increasing disparity and gradual distancing of the philosophical underpinnings upon which each field is founded, adding (...) strain to interdisciplinary collaborative efforts. This article presents an overview of select information-science-related cognition disciplines, and shows how the nascent Philosophy of Information can be adopted as a means of unifying these philosophical foundations in an empirically sound manner, without sacrificing general applicability. In addition, it demonstrates how PI is already rooted in the philosophies or epistemological views of several of the cognition disciplines, implicitly or otherwise. (shrink)
Reasoning about situations we take to be impossible is useful for a variety of theoretical purposes. Furthermore, using a device of impossible worlds when reasoning about the impossible is useful in the same sorts of ways that the device of possible worlds is useful when reasoning about the possible. This paper discusses some of the uses of impossible worlds and argues that commitment to them can and should be had without great metaphysical or logical cost. The paper then provides an (...) account of reasoning with impossible worlds, by treating such reasoning as reasoning employing counterpossible conditionals, and provides a semantics for the proposed treatment. (shrink)
Abstract There are at least eight good reasons practicing historians should concern themselves with counterfactual claims. Furthermore, four of these reasons do not even require that we are able to tell which historical counterfactuals are true and which are false. This paper defends the claim that these reasons to be concerned with counterfactuals are good ones, and discusses how each can contribute to the practice of history. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9817-z Authors Daniel Nolan, School of (...) Philosophy, Australian National University, 0200 Canberra, Australia Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I (...) also consider two issues concerning how a principle of quantitative parsimony should be framed. (shrink)
A lot of good philosophy is done in the armchair, but is nevertheless a posteriori. This paper clarifies and then defends that claim. Among the a posteriori activities done in the armchair are assembling and evaluating commonplaces; formulating theoretical alternatives; and integrating well-known past a posteriori discoveries. The activity that receives the most discussion, however, is the application of theoretical virtues to choose philosophical theories: the paper argues that much of this is properly seen as a posteriori.
Philosophers have found postulating possible worlds to be very useful in a number of areas, including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and metaphysics. Impossible worlds are a natural extension to this use of possible worlds, and can help resolve a number of difficulties thrown up by possible‐worlds frameworks.
In this paper we introduce a distinct metaethical position, fictionalism about morality. We clarify and defend the position, showing that it is a way to save the 'moral phenomena' while agreeing that there is no genuine objective prescriptivity to be described by moral terms. In particular, we distinguish moral fictionalism from moral quasi-realism, and we show that fictionalism possesses the virtues of quasi-realism about morality, but avoids its vices.
A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...) necessary?”, and each of its five replacements. (shrink)
Possible worlds have found many applications in contemporary philosophy: from theories of possibility and necessity, to accounts of conditionals, to theories of mental and linguistic content, to understanding supervenience relationships, to theories of properties and propositions, among many other applications. Almost as soon as possible worlds started to be used in formal theories in logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and elsewhere, theorists started to wonder whether impossible worlds should be postulated as well. In many applications, possible worlds (...) face limitations that can be dealt with through postulating impossible worlds as well. This chapter examines some of the uses of impossible worlds, and philosophical challenges theories of impossible worlds face. (shrink)
It is almost universally believed that some infinite regresses are vicious, and also almost universally believed that some are benign. In this paper I argue that regresses can be vicious for several different sorts of reasons. Furthermore, I claim that some intuitively vicious regresses do not suffer from any of the particular aetiologies that guarantee viciousness to regresses, but are nevertheless so on the basis of considerations of parsimony. The difference between some apparently benign and some apparently vicious regresses, then, (...) turns out to be a matter of a more general assessment of costs and benefits, making viciousness of regresses in some cases less of a local matter than is usually thought. (shrink)
The philosophy of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this (...) paper, in contrast, I discuss and defend naturalistic approaches to discovering the facts about necessity and possibility. After some remarks about what methodological naturalism in philosophy might amount to, I argue that naturalistic method in modal investigations may not need to be particularly revisionary of much of what is currently being done in modal investigation. I then discuss a number of respects in which a naturalistic orientation in modal investigation may improve on our current epistemic situation. (shrink)
There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions. David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts. This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions. However, arguments to Lewis’s and Sider’s conclusions on the basis of considerations (...) about vagueness are uncompelling, even if we accept the crucial premises about vagueness. And a good thing too, since the generalised form of the argument would prove far too much. (shrink)
One increasingly popular technique in philosophy might be called the "platitudes analysis": a set of widely accepted claims about a given subject matter are collected, adjustments are made to the body of claims, and this is taken to specify a “role” for the phenomenon in question. (Perhaps the best-known example is analytic functionalism about mental states, where platitudes about belief, desire, intention etc. are together taken to give us a "role" for states to fill if they are to count as (...) mental states.) We then look to our best theory of the world to see where this role is satisfied, if at all. Unfortunately, the platitudes analysis, so characterised, does not seem to help when we are doing fundamental metaphysics—when we want to know what, at base, our world is like (and not merely where things like e.g. the mental would be found in an already-specified ontology). Nevertheless, I will argue that the platitudes analysis, properly understood, does have the materials to help us answer questions in fundamental metaphysics as well. I will explore three different ways it can do so. (shrink)
This paper discusses the principle of recombination for possible worlds. It argues that arguments against unrestricted recombination offered by Forrest and Armstrong and by David Lewis fail, but a related argument is a challenge, and recommends that we accept an unrestricted principle of recombination and the conclusion that possible worlds form a proper class.
David Lewis’s arguments against magical ersatzism are notoriously puzzling. Untangling different strands in those arguments is useful for bringing out what he thought was wrong with not just one style of theory about possible worlds, but with much of the contemporary metaphysics of abstract objects. After setting out what I take Lewis’s arguments to be and how best to resist them, I consider the application of those arguments to general theories of properties and relations. The constraints Lewis motivates turn out (...) to yield an argument for concretism about possible individuals that is quite different from the better-known Lewisian arguments for that position. The discussion also touches on the puzzling question of whether things are the way they are because of the properties they have, or are the properties and relations the way they are because of the things that have them. (shrink)
Unified theories of de se attitudes and de dicto attitudes, along the lines of David Lewis’s proposal, face a problem. Whether or not they are adequate for representing beliefs, they can misrepresent the content of many of our desires, which rank possible outcomes in which the agent with the desire does not exist. These desires are shown to play a role in the rational explanation of action, and recognising them is important in our understanding of ourselves. Lewis’s account of attitudes (...) de dicto and de se is shown to be unsatisfactory, and the lessons learned are applied more broadly. (shrink)
This paper explores a special kind of loop of grounding: cosmic loops. A cosmic loop is a loop that intuitively requires us to go "around" the entire universe to come back to the original ground. After describing several kinds of cosmic loop scenarios, I will discuss what we can learn from these scenarios about constraints on grounding; the conceivability of cosmic loops; the possibility of cosmic loops; and the prospects for salvaging local reflexivity, asymmetry and transitivity of grounding in a (...) world containing a cosmic loop of ground. The considerations raised in this paper also bear on what we should think about relations that are meant to support grounding relations: in particular, revisions to theories of the part-whole relation are discussed. (shrink)
The surviving sources on the Stoic theory of division reveal that the Stoics, particularly Chrysippus, believed that bodies, places and times were such that all of their parts themselves had proper parts. That is, bodies, places and times were composed of gunk. This realisation helps solve some long-standing puzzles about the Stoic theory of mixture and the Stoic attitude to the present.
This article focuses on the main methods used in analytic metaphysics. It first considers five important sources of constraints on metaphysical theorizing: linguistic and conceptual analysis, consulting intuitions, employing the findings of science, respecting folk opinion, and applying theoretical virtues in metaphysical theory choice such as preferring simpler theories, or preferring more explanatory theories. It then examines the role of formal methods in metaphysics as well as the role of metaphysical communities, traditions, and the place of the history of metaphysics (...) in contemporary work. It also discusses the issue of whether metaphysics should be seen as an enterprise that will yield knowledge of metaphysical matters or whether it should have more modest epistemic goals. Finally, it explores the question of how much of metaphysics is a priori. (shrink)
A principle endorsed by many theories of objective chance, and practically forced on us by the standard interpretation of the Kolmogorov semantics for chance, is the principle that when a proposition P has a chance, any proposition Q that is necessarily equivalent to P will have the same chance as P. Call this principle SUB (for the substitution of necessary equivalents into chance ascriptions). I will present some problems for a theory of chance, and will argue that the best way (...) to resolve these problems is to reject SUB, and similar principles e.g. for the chances of outcomes or the chances of events. Objective chance, it turns out, carves things more finely than necessary equivalence does. (shrink)
Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work (...) that has been asked of it. Resistance to taking things to be fictional is often best explained by unfamiliarity with kinds of fictions than any representational, normative, or cognitive limits. With training and experience, any understandable proposition can be made fictional and be taken to be fictional by readers. This requires a new understanding both of imaginative resistance, and what it might be able to tell us about topics like conceivability or the bounds of possibility. (shrink)
As is well known, Aristotelian natural philosophy, and many other systems of natural philosophy since, have relied heavily on teleology and teleological causation. Somehow, the purpose or end of an obj ect can be used to predict and explain what that object does: once you know that the end of an acorn is to become an oak, and a few things about what sorts of circumstances are conducive to the attainment of this end, you can predict a lot about the (...) sprouting of the acorn and the subsequent behaviour of the piece of vegetation that results. Once you know that a rock seeks to move towards the centre of the Earth, you gain some insight into why it falls when released, and why it deforms the carpet or foot that it lands on. Once you know that the rabbit seeks to preserve itself, you can predict it will run from the fox. And so on. There are at least three features of Aristotle’s teleology, and more generally of an Aristotelian frame of mind about teleology, that may induce suspicion. One is that an end can serve as a "cause": as well as the sort of causation we all recognize, efficient causation, there are other forms, one of which is teleological causation. However, this can look less odd if we think of causes as things that figure in "because" answers to "why" questions. Whether or not self-preservation, or the rabbit’s continued existence, or something similar, causes the rabbit to run, the reply "because it seeks to continue in existence" certainly makes sense as an answer, or part of an answer, to a question about why it ran from the fox. (At present we are only. (shrink)
Lewis is famous as a contemporary philosophical system-builder. The most obvious way his philosophy exhibited a system was in its content: Lewis’s metaphysics, for example, provided answers to many metaphysical puzzles in an integrated way, and there are illuminating connections to be drawn between his general metaphysical views and, for example, his various views about the mind and its place in nature.
An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...) attention to hyperintensional constructions has generated. (shrink)
There is a class of fictionalist strategies (the reflexive fictionalisms) which appear to suffer from a common problem: the problem that the entities which are supposedly fictional turn out, by the lights of the fictionalist theory itself, to exist. The appropriate solution is to reject so-called strong fictionalism in each case: that is, to reject the variety of fictionalism which takes appeal to the domain of fictional entities to provide an explanation or analysis of the operators or predicates with which (...) the objects are systematically correlated. (shrink)
Many people want to hold that some theoretical virtues—simplicity, elegance, familiarity or others—are only pragmatic virtues. That is, these features do not give us any more reason to think a theory is true, or close to true, but they justify choosing one theoretical option over another because they are desirable for some other, practical purpose. Using pragmatic virtues in theory choice apparently brings with it a dilemma: if we are deciding what to accept on the basis of considerations that are (...) not truth-conducive, it looks like we should either refrain from believing what we accept, and adopt some sort of instrumentalist attitude to the theories we cherish; or alternatively, we stand charged with engaging in theoretical irrationality in our belief formation. This paper discusses the appropriate response to this dilemma. (shrink)
The question of what truths are necessary in the broadest possible sense is a difficult one to answer, as is the question of what the limits are to what is possible. (Most people would see these two questions as different sides of the same coin, of course, since many think the question of what is possible is just the question of what is not necessarily ruled out). We have three general sorts of strategies for determining whether something is necessary (or (...) possible). We can identify it in a class that we were previously sure was a class of things that are necessary – we might show it is a theorem of a logical system that we have confidence in, or that the sentence appears to be true simply in virtue of the meanings of the words, or that it is a true statement involving names or about natural kinds of the “necessary a posteriori” sort discussed by Kripke and Putnam, and there are perhaps other classes of claims which we are prepared to accept are necessary if true.1 Likewise, we might establish the possibility of something occurring by reference to a class of well-established or uncontroversial possibilities: e.g. we are inclined to think that it is possible (in the broadest sense) for an event to occur in the future if one of the same kind has occurred in the past. (shrink)
Quantum Mechanics, and apparently its successors, claim that there are minimum quantities by which objects can differ, at least in some situations: electrons can have various “energy levels” in an atom, but to move from one to another they must jump rather than move via continuous variation: and an electron in a hydrogen atom going from -13.6 eV of energy to -3.4 eV does not pass through states of -10eV or -5.1eV, let along -11.1111115637 eV or -4.89712384 eV.
This paper describes a plausible view of the nature of physical objects, their mereological connections to each other, and their relation to spacetime. As well as being parsimonious, the view provides a plausible context for denying all of the following: (1) A theory that objects endure through time (and do not have temporal parts, as normally conceived) cannot claim that material objects are identical to space-time regions they occupy. (2) At least one of the family of mereological connections (part-whole, overlap (...) etc.) is to be taken as primitive. (3) Claims entirely in the language of quantifiers and identity and mereology are not semantically vague. It is thus an example showing that the there are more options for the metaphysics of objects, spacetime and mereology than many metaphysicians ordinarily assume. (shrink)
Are there dispositions which not only do not manifest, but which could not manifest? We argue that there are dispositions to Ф in circumstances C where C is impossible, and some where Ф is impossible. Furthermore, postulating these dispositions does useful theoretical work. This paper describes a number of cases of dispositions had by objects even though those dispositions are not possibly manifest, and argues for the importance of these dispositions.
When invited to consider the methodology of contemporary metaphysics, quite a number of procedures spring to mind as part of the metaphysician's toolkit. These include: eliciting and relying on intuitions; solving location problems and using “conceptual analysis”; inference to the best theory, both on internal metaphysical grounds and drawing from the theoretical reaches of the sciences; working on topics clearly close to, or even overlapping, those of other areas of inquiry using techniques of those other areas; achieving coherence with other (...) theories developed with other aims; and employing deductive reasoning to yield surprising conclusions. Many of these techniques are associated with significant and growing literatures about their scope, epistemic justification, suitability to different metaphysical problems, and so on. (shrink)
The Namibian Governance Code was implemented in 2014 and calls for organisations to manage ethics effectively. This study proposes an ethics framework that can be used by management to build an ethical culture and used by internal auditors to assess the effectiveness of an organisation’s ethical culture. Data was collected from managers and senior internal auditors in the financial services industry, based on their views of the proposed ethics framework. Management agreed that such a framework could contribute to building an (...) ethical organisational culture because there is a lack of guidance available. Internal auditors agreed that the framework could assist the IAF in assessing ethics. However, it appears that this practice in Namibia is limited to an assessment of the codes of conduct only. Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of reporting on ethics performance to stakeholders, primarily because participants’ organisations did not implement integrated reporting as yet. (shrink)
Nolan, Malachy J When Japanese forces invaded New Guinea during the Second World War, there was a large missionary presence in the territory that had been built up in the preceding fifty years. The territory was previously a German possession but had been administered as a trust territory of Australia under a League of Nations mandate after the First World War. Geographically, it consisted of the northern part of the eastern half of the New Guinea mainland; the large islands (...) of New Britain and New Ireland, which lay to the north-east; and the Bougainville portion of the Solomon Islands, further to the east. There were missionaries from both Protestant and Catholic Churches and, because of history, many of these were of German background. (shrink)
In arriving at the heart of Buddhist philosophy, Nolan Pliny Jacobson attempts to eliminate some of the confusion in the West concerning the Buddhist view of what is concrete and ultimately real in the world. Jacobson presents Nāgārjuna, the Plato of the Buddhist tradition, as the major exemplar of the Buddhist expression of life. In his comparison of Buddhism and Western theology, Jacobson demonstrates that some efforts in Western religious thought approach the Buddhist empirical stance. _ _.
Despite its growing use over past decades, there has been relatively little public or scholarly discussion of life sentences that deny the possibility of parole. This essay outlines the labyrinthine legal and political developments that have rendered life imprisonment difficult to address—including the intertwined histories of the death penalty and civil death—and draws upon the life writing of those serving life to theorize a more distinct understanding of this punishment. Witnesses reveal how the possibility of life despite the impossibility of (...) parole punishes by subverting the goals of human growth and development. The potentiality of what can be done in the present grinds up against the futility of what could have been done and what could be done were release an option. Considered alongside the laws and court opinions and claims that characterize its convoluted development, these testimonies reveal this punishment’s role in the American imagination. Life without the possibility of parole reinforces and relies upon a vision that not simply some people are unable to change, but that anyone in a democracy—no matter their position—is some steps away from irretrievable exclusion. Permanent confinement denies a restorative vision of democracy: any effort to abolish or amend it must include the voices of those imprisoned. (shrink)
In May 1999, David Lewis sent Timothy Williamson an intriguing letter about knowledge and vagueness. This paper has a brief discussion of Lewis on evidence, and a longer discussion of a distinctive theory of vagueness Lewis puts forward in this letter, one rather different from standard forms of supervaluationism. Lewis's theory enables him to provide distinctive responses to the challenges to supervaluationism famously offered in chapter 5 of Timothy Williamson's 1994 book Vagueness. However these responses bring out a number of (...) very surprising features of Lewis's own view. -/- The letter from Lewis itself is available on the blog of The Age of Metaphysical Revolution Project, University of Manchester. (shrink)
In the last few decades of the twentieth century there was a revolution in metaphysics: the intensional revolution. Many metaphysicians rejected the doctrine, associated with Quine and Davidson, that extensional analyses and theoretical resources were the only acceptable ones. Metaphysicians embraced tools like modal and counterfactual analyses, claims of modal and counterfactual dependence, and entities such as possible worlds and intensionally individuated properties and relations. The twenty-first century is seeing a hypterintensional revolution. Theoretical tools in common use carve more finely (...) than by necessary equivalence: two pieces of language can apply to the same entities across all possible worlds but not be equivalent; thoughts can be necessarily equivalent in truth value but not synonymous. This paper argues that hyperintensional resources are valuable in metaphysics outside theories of representation, and discusses some promising areas of hyperintensional metaphysics. (shrink)
Nolan, Ann MC In the past fifty years there has been a stream of commentary on the documents of Vatican II. Have we not had so much commentary, so much interpretation, that further commentary is unnecessary? Fifty years on, one might ponder how to interpret the sixteen documents for the church of our times, indeed to wonder whether they continue to have any relevance at all. Faced with this thought, we could turn to one scholar whose works span almost (...) the whole of this fifty-year period, yet whose thought in relation to the documents has not remained static: the renaissance historian John O'Malley SJ. (shrink)
What political problem can autobiography solve? This article examines the politics of Frederick Douglass’s antebellum personal narratives: his 1845 slave narrative, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and his 1855 autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom, written at the opposite ends of Douglass’s transition from the abolitionist politics of William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips to Douglass’s defense of political action and the Constitution as anti-slavery. Placing the two texts alongside Douglass’s distinction “to narrate wrongs” (...) and “denouncing them,” I argue that Douglass writes My Bondage and My Freedom as a mode of denunciation: an autobiographical critique of injustice that balances analysis of collective oppression with advocacy for communal emancipation. Whereas to narrate wrongs encouraged readers to judge Douglass’s story alongside popular criteria of justice, to denounce wrongs is to implicate readers within the structures that create antebellum subjects on and off the plantation, by revealing the coercions and conditionings of society that make not simply slaves but slaveowners, sympathizers, and abolitionists. This article claims that autobiography is a distinct genre of political theory, one that challenges present relations between the individual and the collective by representing not simply its author but an expanded view of “the people.”. (shrink)
Liberals agree that free speech should be protected, where speech is understood broadly to include all forms of intentional communication, including actions and pictures, not merely the spoken or written word. A surprising view about free speech in some liberal and legal circles is that communications should be protected on free-speech grounds only if the communications are mentally mediated. By “mentally mediated communication” we mean speech which communicates its message in such a way that the message can be rationally evaluated (...) by hearers, and causes the hearers to believe it, when it does, through the mechanism of those hearers employing their rational capacity to judge that it is correct. The mental-mediation or persuasion principle, as it is sometimes called, has some important legal and public policy implications. It has been applied to argue that certain forms of expression, despite being forms of speech or expression, lack even a prima facie claim to protection on free speech grounds. -/- Our central aim is to show why the mental mediation principle is mistaken. Liberals should think that some speech which is not mentally mediated deserves protection for the very same reasons that speech which is mentally mediated is often thought to deserve protection. (shrink)
A pressing problem for many non-realist1 theories concerning various specific subject matters is the challenge of making sense of our ordinary propositional attitude claims related to the subject in question. Famously in the case of ethics, to take one example, we have in ordinary language prima facie ascriptions of beliefs and desires involving moral properties and relationships. In the case, for instance, of “Jason believes that Kylie is virtuous”, we appear to have a belief which takes Kylie to be a (...) certain way. If Jason desires that Kylie acts as she ought, he appears to have a desire which has as its content that Kylie perform actions of a certain sort (i.e. the actions that she ought to perform). However, for non-cognitivists in ethics who reject the idea that sentences such as “Kylie is virtuous” or “Kylie acts as she ought” are in the business of making truth-apt claims, or representing that certain moral features are possessed by objects or events, or even, in extreme cases, that such claims express propositions at all, the semantic analysis of the example propositional attitude claims made about Jason will have to be non-standard. (This is merely an application of the well-known “Frege-Geach problem” (see Geach 1965) to the case of embedding moral vocabulary in propositional-attitude ascriptions.). (shrink)
A number of theories of dispositions to date have presupposed that dispositions are all causal: when X is disposed to PHI in circumstances C, it is because of a potential causal connection between C and X’s PHIing. Other intimate connections between dispositions and causation have been argued for: that the relation between dispositions and their categorical bases is to be understood in causal terms, for example, or even that we can explain causation in dispositional terms. These theories of dispositions are (...) all threatened by previously underappreciated cases of noncausal dispositions: cases where an X is disposed to PHI in C, but not because of potential causal connections between the manifestation conditions of dispositions and the manifestations themselves. This paper argues that there are noncausal dispositions of a number of different varieties, explains what trouble this causes many standard theories of dispositions, and discusses what lessons can be learned from these cases for the nature of dispositions. Some of the cases discussed will also cast doubt on the idea that all dispositions ground truths about potentiality or possibility. (shrink)