D. Lewis proposed the reformed conditional analysis of disposition to handle Martin's influential counterexamples to the simple counterfactual analysis. Some philosophers, however, argue that the mere fact that the reformed conditional analysis of disposition can handle Martin's counterexamples should not be regarded as a reason to prefer the reformed conditional analysis to the simple analysis. In this paper, I argue that the reformed version should be preferred not because it can handle Martin's counterexamples but because there are other (...) counterexamples to the simple conditional analysis. (shrink)
Dispositions can combine as vector sums. Recent authors on dispositions, such as George Molnar and Stephen Mumford, have responded to this feature of dispositions by introducing a distinction between effects and contributions to effects, and by identifying disposition-manifestations with the latter. But some have been sceptical of the reality or knowability of component vectors; Jennifer McKitrick (forthcoming) presses these concerns against the conception of manifestations as contributions to effects. In this paper, I aim to respond to McKitrick's arguments and (...) to defend the metaphysical and epistemological propriety of component vectors. My strategy appeals to varying kinematic frames of reference. By transforming to the appropriate non-inertial frame, component acceleration vectors can be transformed into resultant acceleration vectors, and in such frames they become directly observable. Being a component acceleration vector and being a resultant acceleration vector are both frame-dependent properties of properties; they are not to be thought of as intrinsic or fundamental properties of an acceleration vector, but as artefacts of our frame-dependent notation for representing vector quantities. To conclude the paper, I defend the view proposed against two styles of objection. The first objection resurrects scepticism about component vectors as scepticism about fundamental component vectors. The second objection questions the need for reference frames in the explanation by invoking a 'counterfactual' theory of contributions. (shrink)
Given certain well-known observations by Mach and Russell, the question arises what place there is for causation in the physical world. My aim in this chapter is to understand under what conditions we can use causal terminology and how it fi ts in with what physics has to say. I will argue for a disposition-based process-theory of causation. After addressing Mach’s and Russell’s concerns I will start by outlining the kind of problem the disposition based process-theory of causation (...) is meant to solve. In a second step I will discuss the nature of those dispositions that will be relevant for our question. In section 3 I will discuss existing dispositional accounts of causation before I proceed to present my own account (sections 4 to 6) and contrast it with traditional process-theories (section 7). (shrink)
Choi (Philosophia, 38(3), 2010) argues that my counterexamples in Lee (Philosophia, 38(3), 2010) to the simple conditional analysis of disposition ascription are bogus counterexamples. In this paper, I argue that Choi’s arguments are not satisfactory and that my examples are genuine counterexamples.
Theorists have hypothesized that skill in critical thinking is positively correlated with the consistent internal motivation to think and that specific critical thinking skills are matched with specific critical thinking dispositions. If true, these assumptions suggest that a skill-focused curriculum would lead persons to be both willing and able to think. This essay presents a researchbased expert consensus definition of critical thinking, argues that human dispositions are neither hidden nor unknowable, describes a scientific process of developing conventional testing tools to (...) measure cognitive skills and human dispositions, and summarizes recent empirical research findings that explore the possible relationship of critical thinking skill and the consistent internal motivation, or disposition, to use that skill. Empirical studies indicate that for all practical purposes the hypothesized correlations are not evident. It would appear that effective teaching must include strategies for building intellectual character rather than relying exclusively on strengthening cognitive skills. (shrink)
One of the most important issues in moral philosophy is whether morality can be justified by rationality. The purpose of this study is to examine Gauthier’s moral theory, focusing on the disposition of constrained maximization, which is the main thrust of his project to justify morality rationally. First of all, I shall investigate Gauthier’s assumption and condition for the rationality of the disposition of constrained maximization so as to disclose that the disposition of constrained maximization is not (...) necessarily chosen by rational agents. Then I shall explore his other arguments including ones for the reinterpretation of rationality and the self-critical reflection of rational beings, which can be considered as his further efforts to make the disposition of constrained maximization a rational choice. By exploring them, I shall attempt to indicate that those arguments are not valid so long as he clings to the maximizing conception of rationality and thereby this conception of rationality itself is not enough to provide morality with a basis. (shrink)
Disposition ascription has been discussed a good deal over the last few decades, as has the revisionary metaphysical view of ordinary, persisting objects known as 'fourdimensionalism'. However, philosophers have not merged these topics and asked whether four-dimensional objects can be proper subjects of dispositional predicates. This paper seeks to remedy this oversight. It argues that, by and large, four-dimensional objects are not suited to take dispositional predicates.
In order to tesl for critical thinking dispositions, the presence of the requisite critical thinking abilities must first be established. Otherwise, it is always a plausible counterexplanation of failure to use certain abilities that they were not possessed. If a person spontaneously uses some ability on a task, then it is often legitimate to conclude that the person has both the ability and the disposition to use it. However, if the person does not use the ability spontaneously, the conclusion (...) is ambiguous. The person might not have the ability, or might have the ability but not the disposition to use it, or not the disposition to use it in the specific circumstances of the presented task. This paper proposes methods of critical thinking testing designed to deal with each of these possibilities. (shrink)
The Simple Counterfactual Analysis (SCA) was once considered the most promising analysis of disposition ascriptions. According to SCA, disposition ascriptions are to be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals. In the last few decades, however, SCA has become the target of a battery of counterexamples. In all counterexamples, something seems to be interfering with a certain object’s having or not having a certain disposition thus making the truth-values of the disposition ascription and of its associated counterfactual (...) come apart. Intuitively, however, it would seem that, if all interferences were absent, the disposition ascription and its associated conditional would have the same truth-value. Although this idea may seem obvious, it is far from obvious how to implement it. In fact, it has become widely assumed that the content of qualifying ceteris paribus clauses (such as ‘if all interferences were absent’) cannot be specified in a clear and non-circular manner. In this paper, I will argue that this assumption is wrong. I will develop an analysis of disposition ascriptions, the Interference-Free Counterfactual Analysis, which relies on a clear and non-circular definition of the notion of interference and avoids the standard counterexamples to SCA while vindicating the intuition that disposition ascriptions and counterfactual conditionals are intimately related. (shrink)
This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the (...) main points of dispute concerning free will. (shrink)
Michael Fara's ‘habitual analysis’ of disposition ascriptions is equivalent to a kind of ceteris paribus conditional analysis which has no evident advantage over Martin's well known and simpler analysis. I describe an unsatisfactory hypothetical response to Martin's challenge, which is lacking in just the same respect as the analysis considered by Martin; Fara's habitual analysis is equivalent to this hypothetical analysis. The feature of the habitual analysis that is responsible for this cannot be harmlessly excised, for the resulting analysis (...) would be subject to familiar counter-examples. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Paul Coates defends a sophisticated dispositional account which allegedly resolves the sceptical paradox developed by Kripke in his monograph on Wittgenstein's treatment of following a rule (Kripke, 1982). Coates' account appeals to a notion of 'homeostasis', unpacked as a subject's second-order disposition to maintain a consistent pattern of extended first-order dispositions regarding her linguistic behavior. This kind of account, Coates contends, provides a naturalistic model for the normativity of intentional properties and thus resolves Kripke's sceptical (...) paradox. In this paper I argue that Coates' second-order dispositional account cannot solve the sceptic's problems regarding meaning and normativity. My main contention is that in order for second-order dispositions to be able to effectively regulate the coordinated responses constitutive of first-order dispositions, those first order dispositions must be independently identifiable. Yet that's precisely what Kripke's sceptical argument calls into question. I shall also argue, in a more positive fashion, that Coates' own appeal to practical breakdowns may suggest a different —and more effective— response to the sceptic's concern. (shrink)
Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...) debate. Finally, they show how the cognitive-affective theory of personality and the two-system theory of behavioural cognition are compatible, thereby undermining the current empirical challenge to virtue ethics. Empirical research into the nature and development of attitudes should therefore be central to philosophical discussions of virtue and character. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, I give a brief account of the history of the debate on the problem of defining disposition concepts from its beginning in the late 1920s until today. This account is divided into four parts, corresponding with sections 2 to 5 of the paper, each of which deals with a major period of the debate. Section 2 reports up to the mid-1950s. Section 3 deals with important contributions to the discussion between 1955 (...) and 1958. However, the progress made around that time was far ahead of the logical theory and techniques which were needed for foundational reasons and for a better understanding of the basic notions. Some logical techniques appropriate for that aim were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though not uncontroversial, those logical techniques resulted in improvements of the insights gained in the mid-1950s; I shall report on those logical techniques and their application to the problem of defining disposition concepts in Section 4. In the early 1990s, however, the whole tradition of defining disposition concepts in terms of conditionals has been challenged by some strong counter-examples which are treated in Section 5. Finally, the second of the aims of this paper is explored in Section 6, in which I sketch very briefly the current stage of the debate by discussing and evaluating the most recent approaches to the subject. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss recent debates concerning etiological theories of functions. I defend an etiological theory against two criticisms, namely the ability to account for malfunction, and the problem of structural doubles. I then consider the arguments provided by Bigelow and Pargetter (1987) for a more forward looking account of functions as propensities or dispositions. I argue that their approach fails to address the explanatory problematic for which etiological theories were developed.
I develop and defend a version of what I call Disposition-Based Decision Theory (or DBDT). I point out important problems in David Gauthier’s (1985, 1986) formulation of DBDT, and carefully develop a more defensible formulation. I then compare my version of DBDT to the currently most widely accepted decision theory, Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Traditional intuition-based arguments fail to give us any strong reason to prefer either theory over the other, but I propose an alternative strategy for resolving this (...) debate. I argue that we should embrace DBDT because it does better than CDT at the work that we, as a matter of empirical fact, commonly call upon a notion of rationality to do. (shrink)
Kant’s discussion of radical evil and moral regeneration in Religion Within the Bounds of Reason Alone raises numerous moral and metaphysical problems.If the ground of one’s disposition does not lie in time, as Kant argues, how can it be reformed, as the moral law commands? If divine aid is necessary for thisimpossible reformation, how does this not destroy a person’s moral personality by bypassing her freedom? This paper argues that these problems can be resolved by showing how Kant can (...) conceive the moral law itself as kind of grace which, willed properly, makes moral regeneration possible without destroying the autonomy of the individual. (shrink)
If one proposes to analyze dispositions by means of statements involving only the 'if-then' of material implication--that is, for example, to define 'x is soluble' by means of 'x is in water ⊃ x dissolves'--then one faces the problem first raised by Carnap, the match which is never put in water and which therefore turns out to be not only soluble but also both soluble and insoluble. I have elsewhere argued that if one refers to appropriate laws, then one can (...) provide an account of disposition predication that solves Carnap's problem while requiring no sense of 'if-then' other than that of material implication. Harre and Madden have argued that a variant of this proposal--one in which the relevant law is restricted to one that relates the disposition to internal structures--is more adequate. It is argued that the proposal of Harre and Madden is in fact not adequate. It leads to an implausible infinite regress of dispositions and ever finer internal structures, which Harre and Madden avoid only by introducing "Parmenidean individuals." The examples they give turn out to involve dispositions not grounded in internal structures, and so support our analysis; while the explicit description of such individuals by Harre and Madden involves the incoherent idea that two individuals can share all categorical properties while differing in their dispositions. The position of Harre and Madden thus turns out to be equivalent to ours or to be incoherent. (shrink)
According to Aquinas (1888–1906), the virtue of justice is a habit, that is to say, a stable disposition of the will. Many commentators have found this claim to be puzzling, since it is difficult to see what this might entail, beyond a simple tendency to choose and act in accordance with precepts of justice. However, this objection does not take account of the fact that for Aquinas, the will is the principle of human freedom, and as such, it is (...) expressed through, but not limited to a capacity for particular choices and actions. It therefore needs stable dispositions, towards characteristic aims, in order to function effectively. This paper sets out a case for the cogency of Aquinas’s overall account of the will and its dispositions, by way of an examination of familiar expressions of human freedom which cannot be reduced to a series of individual choices and acts. It then turns to a closer examination of Aquinas’ analysis of the will, arguing that Aquinas’ claims about the orientation of the will towards some overarching and comprehensive good can fruitfully be understood in terms of this expansive conception of human freedom. (shrink)
Inconsistency of attitudes and behavior is due to the probabilistic connection between responses or actions and the (not directly observable) dispositions on which they depend. Latent variable models provide criteria for recognizing when attitude and behavior depend on the same disposition. Statistical tests of such models and techniques of parameter estimation are described. The viewpoint proposed here and illustrated with empirical examples contrasts with the prevalent reliance on correlational models and methods.
Addis (1981) has criticized a proposal of ours (Wilson [1969b]) for analysing disposition predications in terns of the horseshoe of material implication, and has proposed a related but significantly different analysis. This paper restates the original proposal, and defends it against Addis's criticisms. It is further argued that his proposal will not do as a general account of disposition predications; that, however, if it is suitably qualified, then it does account for certain special sorts of disposition predication; (...) but that so understood, it can be seen to be but a special case of ours. (shrink)
Assuming that critical thinking dispositions are at least as important as critical thinking abilities, Ennis examines the concept of critical thinking disposition and suggests some criteria for judging sets of them. He considers a leading approach to their analysis and offers as an alternative a simpler set, including the disposition to seek alternatives and be open to them. After examining some gender-bias and subject-specificity challenges to promoting critical thinking dispositions, he notes some difficulties involved in assessing critical thinking (...) dispositions, and suggests an exploratory attempt to assess them. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued that the classical rhetorical framework undergoes a transformation because of an important change in Western thought. Following this hypothesis, I analyze a rhetorical notion of “dissuasion” as a rhetorical technique of creating a “general disposition to inaction” in addition to a classical rhetorical notion of “dissuasion” that aims at “refraining from an action”.
Lithuania’s legislation, establishing criminal liability for illegal disposition of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, uses two different terms while identifying the subject matter for criminal deeds: “narcotic and psychotropic substances” and “plants, incorporated into the lists of controlled substances.” The legislation in article 269 of the Lithuanian criminal code explains that narcotic and psychotropic substances, indicated in the respective chapter of the Lithuanian criminal code, shall be those substances that are included in the lists of narcotic and psychotropic substances (...) as approved by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania. Plants having narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are not introduced into this definition although the exception of the coca bush is enumerated in the lists of controlled substances. This described present position brings in a certain intricacy when deciding when a perpetrator should be punished only for illegal cultivation of plants and when he should be punished also for other illegal acts with narcotic and psychotropic substances. (shrink)
Developing teacher candidates who are able to make moral judgements to equitably resolve classroom dilemmas, conduct student assessment and allocate resources is critical for today's diverse classrooms and should be part of fostering professional disposition. However, one challenge of incorporating dispositions in teacher education and a valid argument for those opposing the trend is how to accurately assess growth in the development of in teacher candidates. This study investigates two measures of moral judgement and explores the congruence between these (...) assessments. Findings indicate inconsistency in the congruence between the quantitative assessment (Defining Issues Test 2) of moral judgement and qualitative data (teacher candidate written assignments), suggesting an inaccurate picture of teacher candidate disposition. Patterns of incongruence are explored and linked to specific phases of moral judgement followed by suggestions for teacher education programs on building congruent assessments. (shrink)
Attempts to capture the distinction between categorical and dispositional states in terms of more primitive modal notions – subjunctive conditionals, causal roles, or combinatorial principles – are bound to fail. Such failure is ensured by a deep symmetry in the ways dispositional and categorical states alike carry modal import. But the categorical/dispositional distinction should not be abandoned; it underpins important metaphysical disputes. Rather, it should be taken as a primitive, after which the doomed attempts at reductive explanation can be transformed (...) into circular but interesting accounts. (shrink)
This paper describes and defends in detail a novel account of belief, an account inspired by Ryle's dispositional characterization of belief, but emphasizing irreducibly phenomenal and cognitive dispositions as well as behavioral dispositions. Potential externalist and functionalist objections are considered, as well as concerns motivated by the inevitably ceteris paribus nature of the relevant dispositional attributions. It is argued that a dispositional account of belief is particularly well-suited to handle what might be called "in-between" cases of believing - cases in (...) which it is neither quite right to describe a person as having a particular belief nor quite right to describe her as lacking it. (shrink)
Dispositions are essential to our understanding of the world. IDispositions: A Debate is an extended dialogue between three distinguished philosophers - D.M. Armstrong, C.B. Martin and U.T. Place - on the many problems associated with dispositions, which reveals their own distinctive accounts of the nature of dispositions. These are then linked to other issues such as the nature of mind, matter, universals, existence, laws of nature and (...) causation. (shrink)
According to Jerry Fodor’s atomistic theory of content, subjects’ dispositions to token mentalese terms in counterfactual circumstances fix the contents of those terms. I argue that the pattern of counterfactual tokenings alone does not satisfactorily fix content; if Fodor’s appeal to patterns of counterfactual tokenings has any chance of assigning correct extensions, Fodor must take into account the contents of subjects’ various mental states at the times of those tokenings. However, to do so, Fodor must abandon his semantic atomism. And (...) while Fodor has recently qualified his atomism, the cognitively holistic nature of dispositions continues to undermine his view. (shrink)
1) reductionism in psychology is not a single move regarding a single conceptual issue, but is rather a complex of concerns with a network of conceptually interrelated issues. 2) reductionistic moves tend to explicitly rely upon or implicitly presuppose the use of dispositional terms. 3) dispositional terms will not serve to effect reductionistic programs because they themselves require many of the features that those programs require excising. 4) if dispositionals are not themselves logically tied to intentionals, they at least bear (...) a sufficient family resemblance to participate in logical problems similar to those of intentionals and modals. 5) if dispositionals and intentionals do not require the teleological frame from which they historically arose, then they at least require some alternative accounting, not an elimination. (shrink)
Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role in metaphysics and philosophy of science is. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties--from the spin of a sub-atomic particle to the solubility of sugar. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world.
Anja Karnein has suggested that because of the importance of respect for persons, law and policy should require some human embryos created in vitro to be available for adoption for a period of time. If no one comes forward to adopt the embryos during that time, they may be destroyed (in the case of embryos left over from fertility medicine) or used in research (in the case of embryos created for that purpose or left over from fertility medicine). This adoption (...) option would increase the number of embryos available for couples looking for help in having children, but that effect is less important—Karnein argues—than the observance of respect for human persons. As possible persons, she holds that embryos ought to be treated, as if they will become children, if only for a while. If enacted as a matter of law and policy, an ‘adoption option’ would wrongly interfere with the dispositional rights women and men ought to have over embryos they create in the course of trying to have children. Karnein's proposal would also deprive researchers of certainty that the embryos they create for research would actually be available that way, leading to increased burdens of time and money and maybe even to more embryos than would otherwise be produced. Karnein's analysis does not show, moreover, that any duty of rescue applies to embryos. No woman is required to adopt any embryo, which significantly undercuts the justification for an obligatory adoption period. (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
By focusing on human virtues rather than the general morality of rational beings, Kant’s virtue theory presents systematic arguments from the perspectives of reason and experiential emotion, norms and disposition, spirituality and humanity, etc., which is of great significance to an overall understanding of Kantian ethics, thus clarifying misunderstandings from the past decades.