Dispositions and their intentions

In G. Damschen, R. Schnepf & K. Stueber (eds.), Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 204-219 (2009)
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Abstract

Dispositional Realism is the view according to which some denizens of reality – i.e., dispositions – are properties, that may exist in the natural world and have an irreducible modal character. Among Dispositional Realists, Charlie Martin, Ullin Place and George Molnar most notably argued that the modal character of dispositions should be understood in terms of their intentionality. Other Dispositional Realists, most notably Stephen Mumford, challenged this understanding of the modal character of dispositions. In this paper, I defend a fresh version of the intentional understanding of dispositions. I start by distinguishing two questions about properties, respectively addressing their identity conditions and their individuation conditions. I, then, define categorical and dispositional properties in terms of their qualitative character, and examine their identity and individuation conditions. I conclude that the attribution of intentions is a conceptual tool: it was introduced in order to help specifying the conditions of individuation of a disposition; however, such attribution does not affect the identity of a disposition.

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Andrea Borghini
Università degli Studi di Milano

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