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Dispositions and habituals

Noûs 39 (1):43–82 (2005)

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  1. Responsibility for Testimonial Injustice.Adam Piovarchy - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):597–615.
    In this paper, I examine whether agents who commit testimonial injustice are morally responsible for their wrongdoing, given that they are ignorant of their wrongdoing. Fricker (2007) argues that agents whose social setting lacks the concepts or reasons necessary for them to correct for testimonial injustice are excused. I argue that agents whose social settings have these concepts or reasons available are also typically excused, because they lack the capacity to recognise those concepts or reasons. Attempts to trace this lack (...)
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  • Dispositional Interferers and the Metaphysics of Superheroes.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-15.
    Many recently released Hollywood films feature superheroes like Superman, Ironman, the Hulk, Optimus Prime, and so on who possess amazing superpower and defeat supervillains with unassailable commitment to moral justice. Interestingly, different superheroes possess and exercise their superpower in very different fashions. What is more, this aspect of their difference is intimately related to an issue that is lately in intense debate among metaphysicians of powers and dispositions, the issue of the possibility of intrinsic interferers with dispositions. This paper will (...)
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  • Dispositions.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Epistemic Dispositions: Reply to Turri and Bronner.Rachel Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (4):629-636.
    We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where (...)
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  • Functions in Basic Formal Ontology.Andrew D. Spear, Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2016 - Applied ontology 11 (2):103-128.
    The notion of function is indispensable to our understanding of distinctions such as that between being broken and being in working order (for artifacts) and between being diseased and being healthy (for organisms). A clear account of the ontology of functions and functioning is thus an important desideratum for any top-level ontology intended for application to domains such as engineering or medicine. The benefit of using top-level ontologies in applied ontology can only be realized when each of the categories identified (...)
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  • Agents’ Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
    In the book, I provide an account of what it is for an agent to have an ability. According to the Success View, abilities are all about success across possible situations. In developing and applying the view, the book elucidates the relation between abilities on the one hand and possibility, counterfactuals, and dispositions on the other; it sheds light on the distinction between general and specific abilities; it offers an understanding of degrees of abilities; it explains which role intentions and (...)
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  • Virtues, Consequences, and the Market.Benjamin Ferguson - 2020 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 13 (1).
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  • Minkish dispositions.Alan Hájek - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4795-4811.
    Start with an ordinary disposition ascription, like ‘the wire is live’ or ‘the glass is fragile’. Lewis gives a canonical template for what he regards as the analysandum of such an ascription:“Something x is disposed at time t to give response r to stimulus s”.For example, the wire is disposed at noon to conduct electrical current when touched by a conductor.What Lewis calls “the simple conditional analysis” gives putatively necessary and sufficient conditions for the analysandum in terms of a counterfactual:“if (...)
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  • Absolutely General Knowledge.Rachel Elizabeth Fraser & Beau Madison Mount - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Multistable Figures: On the Critical Potentials of Ir/Reversible Aspect-Seeing.Christoph Holzhey (ed.) - 2014 - Vienna: Turia + Kant.
    Multistable figures offer an intriguing model for arbitrating conflicting positions. Moving back and forth between the different aspects under which something can be seen, one recognizes that mutually contradictory descriptions can be equally valid and that disputes over the correct account can be resolved without dissolving differences or establishing a higher synthesis. Yet, the experience of a gestalt switch also offers a model for radical conversions and revolutions – that is, for irreversible leaps to incommensurable alternatives foiling ideals of rational (...)
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  • Virtuous Persons and Virtuous Actions in Business Ethics and Organizational Research.Miguel Alzola - 2015 - Business Ethics Quarterly 25 (3):287-318.
    ABSTRACT:The language of virtue is gaining wider appreciation in the philosophical, psychological, and management literatures. Ethicists and social scientists aim to integrate normative and empirical approaches into a new “science of virtue.” But, I submit, they are talking past each other; they hold radically different notions of what a virtue is. In this paper, I shall examine two conflicting conceptions of virtue, what I call the reductive and the non-reductive accounts of virtue. I shall critically study them and argue that (...)
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  • How to Power Encultured Minds.Charles Lassiter & Joseph Vukov - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3507-3534.
    Cultural psychologists often describe the relationship between mind and culture as ‘dynamic.’ In light of this, we provide two desiderata that a theory about encultured minds ought to meet: the theory ought to reflect how cultural psychologists describe their own findings and it ought to be thoroughly naturalistic. We show that a realist theory of causal powers—which holds that powers are causally-efficacious and empirically-discoverable—fits the bill. After an introduction to the major concepts in cultural psychology and describing causal power realism, (...)
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  • The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism.David Yates - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
    Dispositional essentialists argue that physical properties have their causal roles essentially. This is typically taken to mean that physical properties are identical to dispositions. I argue that this is untenable, and that we must instead say that properties bestow dispositions. I explore what it is for a property to have such a role essentially. Dispositional essentialists argue for their view by citing certain epistemological and metaphysical implications, and I appeal to these implications to place desiderata on the concept of essence (...)
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  • Rational 'Ought' Implies 'Can'.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):70-92.
    Every kind of ‘ought’ implies some kind of ‘can’ – but there are many kinds of ‘ought’ and even more kinds of ‘can’. In this essay, I shall focus on a particular kind of ‘ought’ – specifically, on what I shall call the “rational ‘ought’”. On every occasion of use, this kind of ‘ought’ is focused on the situation of a particular agent at a particular time; but this kind of ‘ought’ is concerned, not with how that agent acts at (...)
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  • Dispositional Accounts of Abilities.Barbara Vetter & Romy Jaster - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (8):e12432.
    This paper explores the prospects for dispositional accounts of abilities. According to so-called new dispositionalists, an agent has the ability to Φ iff they have a disposition to Φ when trying to Φ. We show that the new dispositionalism is beset by some problems that also beset its predecessor, the conditional analysis of abilities, and bring up some further problems. We then turn to a different approach, which links abilities not to motivational states but to the notion of success, and (...)
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  • Dispositions.Michael Fara - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The glass vase on my desk is fragile. It should be handled with care because it it is likely to shatter or crack if it is knocked, dropped, or otherwise treated roughly. The vase has certain dispositions, for example the disposition to shatter when dropped. But what is this disposition? It seems on the one hand to be a perfectly real property, a genuine respect of similarity common to glass vases, china cups, ancient manuscripts, and anything else fragile. Yet on (...)
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  • Necessitarianism and Dispositions.Simone Gozzano - 2020 - Metaphysica (1):1-23.
    In this paper, I argue in favor of necessitarianism, the view that dispositions, when stimulated, necessitate their manifestations. After introducing and clarifying what necessitarianism does and does not amount to, I provide reasons to support the view that dispositions once stimulated necessitate their manifestations according to the stimulating conditions and the relevant properties at stake. In this framework, I will propose a principle of causal relevance and some conditions for the possibility of interference that allow us to avoid the use (...)
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  • On Linking Dispositions and Conditionals.David Manley & Ryan Wasserman - 2008 - Mind 117 (465):59-84.
    Analyses of dispositional ascriptions in terms of conditional statements famously confront the problems of finks and masks. We argue that conditional analyses of dispositions, even those tailored to avoid finks and masks, face five further problems. These are the problems of: (i) Achilles' heels, (ii) accidental closeness, (iii) comparatives, (iv) explaining context sensitivity, and (v) absent stimulus conditions. We conclude by offering a proposal that avoids all seven of these problems.
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  • Semantic Dispositionalism Without Exceptions.Arvid Båve - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1751-1771.
    Semantic dispositionalism is roughly the view that meaning a certain thing by a word, or possessing a certain concept, consists in being disposed to do something, e.g., infer a certain way. Its main problem is that it seems to have so many and disparate exceptions. People can fail to infer as required due to lack of logical acumen, intoxication, confusion, deviant theories, neural malfunctioning, and so on. I present a theory stating possession conditions of concepts that are counterfactuals, rather than (...)
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  • A Causal Semantics of IS Generics.Robert van Rooij & Katrin Schulz - 2020 - Journal of Semantics 37 (2):269-295.
    The felicity, or acceptability, of IS generics, i.e. generic sentences with indefinite singulars, is considerably more restricted compared to BP generics, generics with bare plurals. The goal of this paper is to account for the limited felicity of IS generics compared to BP generics, on the one hand, while preserving the close similarity between the two types of generics, on the other. We do so by proposing a causal analysis of IS generics, and show that this corresponds closely with a (...)
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  • Masked Abilities and Compatibilism.M. Fara - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):843-865.
    An object's disposition to A in circumstances C is masked if circumstances C obtain without the object Aing. This paper explores an analogous sense in which abilities can be masked, and it uses the results of this exploration to motivate an analysis of agents' abilities in terms of dispositions. This analysis is then shown to provide the resources to defend a version of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities against Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Although this principle is often taken to be congenial to (...)
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  • Deterministic Chance.Antony Eagle - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):269 - 299.
    I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...)
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  • Dispositions Without Conditionals.Barbara Vetter - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):129-156.
    Dispositions are modal properties. The standard conception of dispositions holds that each disposition is individuated by its stimulus condition(s) and its manifestation(s), and that their modality is best captured by some conditional construction that relates stimulus to manifestation as antecedent to consequent. I propose an alternative conception of dispositions: each disposition is individuated by its manifestation alone, and its modality is closest to that of possibility — a fragile vase, for instance, is one that can break easily. The view is (...)
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  • Are Abilities Dispositions?Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Synthese 196 (1).
    Abilities are in many ways central to what being an agent means, and they are appealed to in philosophical accounts of a great many different phenomena. It is often assumed that abilities are some kind of dispositional property, but it is rarely made explicit exactly which dispositional properties are our abilities. Two recent debates provide two different answers to that question: the new dispositionalism in the debate about free will, and virtue reliabilism in epistemology. This paper argues that both answers (...)
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  • The Meaning of "Look".Wylie Breckenridge - 2007 - Dissertation, New College, University of Oxford
    My main aim is to clarify what we mean by ‘look’ sentences such as (1) below – ones that we use to talk about visual experience: -/- (1) The ball looked red to Sue -/- This is to help better understand a part of natural language that has so far resisted treatment, and also to help better understand the nature of visual experience. -/- By appealing to general linguistic principles I argue for the following account. First, we use (1) to (...)
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  • Dispositions Without Teleology.David Manley & Ryan Wasserman - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10.
    We argue against accounting for dispositions (and of the progressive aspect) in terms of a fundamentally teleological metaphysics, and we defend our previous conditional account from some novel objections. -/- In “Teleological Dispositions,” Nick Kroll offers a novel theory of dispositions in terms of primitive directed states. Kroll is clear that his notion of directedness “outstrips talk of goals, purposes, design, and function”, and that it commits him to “primitive teleological facts”. This notion may strike some as outdated and unscientific, (...)
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  • Taking Something as a Reason for Action.Markus E. Schlosser - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (2):267-304.
    This paper proposes and defends an account of what it is to act for reasons. In the first part, I will discuss the desire-belief and the deliberative model of acting for reasons. I will argue that we can avoid the weaknesses and retain the strengths of both views, if we pursue an alternative according to which acting for reasons involves taking something as a reason. In the main part, I will develop an account of what it is to take something (...)
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  • Goodbye, Humean Supervenience.Troy Cross - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7:129-153.
    Reductionists about dispositions must either say the natural properties are all dispositional or individuate properties hyperintensionally. Lewis stands in as an example of the sort of combination I think is incoherent: properties individuated by modal profile + categoricalism.
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  • How to Welcome Spontaneous Manifestations.Jan Hauska - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):147-176.
    George Molnar’s contention that some dispositional properties are displayed without the aid of any activating conditions poses a challenge to the conditional analysis of dispositions. Since the invocation of activating conditions is regarded as a crucial feature of the analysis, spontaneous dispositions are believed to expose its inadequacy by eluding its scope. The challenge goes to the very heart of the conditional approach to dispositions, allegedly revealing a deep flaw in all its incarnations. Granting that there may be spontaneously manifestable (...)
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  • Are Character Traits Dispositions?Maria Alvarez - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80:69-86.
    The last three decades have seen much important work on powers and dispositions: what they are and how they are related to the phenomena that constitute their manifestation. These debates have tended to focus on ‘paradigmatic’ dispositions, i.e. physical dispositions such as conductivity, elasticity, radioactivity, etc. It is often assumed, implicitly or explicitly, that the conclusions of these debates concerning physical dispositions can be extended to psychological dispositions, such as beliefs, desires or character traits. In this paper I identify some (...)
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  • Disposition Ascriptions.Simona Aimar - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1667-1692.
    I argue that disposition ascriptions—claims like ‘the glass is fragile’—are semantically equivalent to possibility claims: they are true when the given object manifests the disposition in at least one of the relevant possible worlds.
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  • Conditionals, Dispositions, and Free Will.Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2014 - Magyar Filozofiai Szemle 58 (4):45–67.
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  • Normativism Defended.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 85--102.
    The aim of this chapter is to defend the claim that “the intentional is normative” against a number of objections, including those that Georges Rey has presented in his contribution to this volume. First, I give a quick sketch of the principal argument that I have used to support this claim, and briefly comment on Rey’s criticisms of this argument. Next, I try to answer the main objections that have been raised against this claim. First, it may seem that the (...)
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  • Seemings: Still Dispositions to Believe.Preston J. Werner - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1-14.
    According to phenomenal conservatism, seemings can provide prima facie justification for beliefs. In order to fully assess phenomenal conservatism, it is important to understand the nature of seemings. Two views are that (SG) seemings are a sui generis propositional attitude, and that (D2B) seemings are nothing over and above dispositions to believe. Proponents of (SG) reject (D2B) in large part by providing four distinct objections against (D2B). First, seemings have a distinctive phenomenology, but dispositions to believe do not. Second, seemings (...)
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  • Dispositions.James M. Bucknell - 2015 - Dissertation, Univeristy of New South Wales
    This thesis proposes that key, competing theories of dispositions mistake and conflate how we identify, designate and talk about dispositions and dispositional terms for the nature of dispositions and the meaning of dispositional terms when they argue that: a) dispositions are extrinsic properties of their bearers (Boyle 1666) b) all properties are purely dispositional (Bird 2007) c) all properties are purely categorical (there are no dispositional properties) (Armstrong in AMP 1996) d) dispositional and categorical properties are separate and distinct properties (...)
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  • Feasibility Constraints for Political Theories.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2010 - Dissertation, Australian National University
  • Causal Structuralism, Dispositional Actualism, and Counterfactual Conditionals.Antony Eagle - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press. pp. 65--99.
    Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional essentialism.
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  • Potentiality and Possibility.Barbara Vetter - 2010 - Dissertation, Oxford
    In this thesis, I develop a nonreductive and general conception of potentiality, and explore the prospects of a realist account of possibility based on this account of potentiality. Potentialities are properties of individual objects; they include dispositions such as fragility and abilities such as the ability to play the piano. Potentialities are individuated by their manifestation alone. In order to provide a unified account of potentialities, I argue in chapter 2 that dispositions, contrary to philosophical orthodoxy, are best understood in (...)
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  • Fully Realizing Partial Realization.Nick Kroll - 2018 - Glossa 3 (1):120.
  • Internal Reasons.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
    Argues that "internalism about reasons" owes its appeal to a function argument from the nature of agency. Internalism is thus revealed as a species of ethical rationalism. (This paper introduces a volume of recent work on internal and external reasons.).
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  • A Defense of a Particularist Research Program.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (2):181-199.
    What makes some acts morally right and others morally wrong? Traditionally, philosophers have thought that in order to answer this question we must find and formulate exceptionless moral principles—principles that capture all and only morally right actions. Utilitarianism and Kantianism are paradigmatic examples of such attempts. In recent years, however, there has been a growing interest in a novel approach—Particularism—although its precise content is still a matter of controversy. In this paper I develop and motivate a new formulation of particularism (...)
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  • Dispositional Properties and Counterfactual Conditionals.Sungho Choi - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):795-841.
    For the last several decades, dispositional properties have been one of the main topics in metaphysics. Still, however, there is little agreement among contemporary metaphysicians on the nature of dispositional properties. Apparently, though, the majority of them have reached the consensus that dispositional ascriptions cannot be analysed in terms of simple counterfactual conditionals. In this paper it will be brought to light that this consensus is wrong. Specifically, I will argue that the simple conditional analysis of dispositions, which is generally (...)
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  • Dispositional Abilities.Ann Whittle - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
    Dispositional compatibilists argue that a proper understanding of our abilities vindicates both compatibilism and the principle of Alternate Possibilities (the claim that the ability to do otherwise is required for freedom and moral responsibility). In this paper, I argue that this is mistaken. Both analyses of dispositions and abilities should distinguish between local and global dispositions or abilities. Once this distinction is in place, we see that neither thesis is established by an analysis of abilities.
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  • How Counterpart Theory Saves Nonreductive Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):139-174.
    Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have pursued this (...)
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  • XV—Intelligent Capacities.Victoria McGeer - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    In The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that a more sophisticated understanding of the dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’ could bolster philosophical resistance to the tempting view that the human mind is possessed of metaphysically ‘occult’ powers and properties. This temptation is powerful in the context of accounting for the special qualities of responsible agency. Incompatibilists indulge the temptation; compatibilists resist it, using a variety of strategies. One recent strategy, reminiscent of Ryle’s, is to exploit a more sophisticated understanding (...)
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  • Dispositions, Abilities to Act, and Free Will: The New Dispositionalism.Randolph Clarke - 2009 - Mind 118 (470):323-351.
    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 (...)
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  • Lewis’ Conditional Analysis of Dispositions Revisited and Revised.Markus Schlosser - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):241-253.
    The conditional analysis of dispositions is widely rejected, mainly due to counterexamples in which dispositions are either “finkish” or “masked.” David Lewis proposed a reformed conditional analysis. This view avoids the problem of finkish dispositions, but it fails to solve the problem of masking. I will propose a reformulation of Lewis’ analysis, and I will argue that this reformulation can easily be modified so that it avoids the problem of masking. In the final section, I will address the challenge that (...)
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  • On Doubt.Matthew Lee - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):141-158.
    Despite the prominence of doubt in philosophy since Descartes, the published philosophical literature includes no extended treatment of the nature of doubt. In this paper, I summarize the main contributions that have been made to the subject and then develop a commonsense functionalist account of doubt by specifying the functional role of doubt that something is the case. After adding two further wrinkles, I show how the resulting account can be used to address the questions of how doubt is related (...)
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  • Every Proposition is a Counterfactual.Charles Cross - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (2):117-137.
    I present and discuss two logical results. The first shows that a non-trivial counterfactual analysis exists for any contingent proposition that is false in at least two possible worlds. The second result identifies a set of conditions that are individually necessary and jointly sufficient for the success of a counterfactual analysis. I use these results to shed light on the question whether disposition ascribing propositions can be analyzed as Stalnaker-Lewis conditional propositions. The answer is that they can, but, in order (...)
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  • Dispositions, Conditionals and Auspicious Circumstances.Justin C. Fisher - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):443-464.
    A number of authors have suggested that a conditional analysis of dispositions must take roughly the following form: Thing X is disposed to produce response R to stimulus S just in case, if X were exposed to S and surrounding circumstances were auspicious, then X would produce R. The great challenge is cashing out the relevant notion of ‘auspicious circumstances’. I give a general argument which entails that all existing conditional analyses fail, and that there is no satisfactory way to (...)
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