The incompleteness of dispositional predicates

Synthese 163 (2):157 - 174 (2008)
Elizabeth Prior claims that dispositional predicates are incomplete in the sense that they have more than one argument place. To back up this claim, she offers a number of arguments that involve such ordinary dispositional predicates as ‘fragile’, ‘soluble’, and so on. In this paper, I will first demonstrate that one of Prior’s arguments that ‘is fragile’ is an incomplete predicate is mistaken. This, however, does not immediately mean that Prior is wrong that ‘fragile’ is an incomplete predicate. On the contrary, I maintain that she has offered another valid argument that does indeed establish the claim that ‘fragile’ is an incomplete predicate. I will argue further that Prior is right that ‘soluble’ is an incomplete predicate. Then does this mean that all dispositional predicates are incomplete? I don’t think so. I will suggest that there are complete dispositional predicates that have no more than one argument place. Finally, by relying on my discussion of the incompleteness of dispositional predicates, I will attempt to provide a better understanding of the context-dependence and intrinsic nature of dispositional ascriptions.
Keywords Dispositional predicates  Argument places  Elizabeth Prior  David Lewis Events  Realizers
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DOI 10.2307/40271020
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References found in this work BETA
Stephen Mumford (1998). Dispositions. Oxford University Press.
David Lewis (1997). Finkish Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
C. B. Martin (1994). Dispositions and Conditionals. Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

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