Authors
Paul Raymont
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Abstract
I maintain that dispositions are not causally relevant to their manifestations. The paper begins with a negative argument, which is intended to undermine David Lewis’ recent attempt to restore causal potency to dispositions by identifying their instantiations with the instantiations of their causal bases. I conclude that Lewis’ attempt to vindicate the causal credentials of dispositions meets obstacles that are analogous to those that beset Donald Davidson’s attempt to accord a causal role to the mental. I then consider an argument recently given by Frank Jackson against the causal relevance of dispositions. Jackson’s argument relies on a conception of dispositions that is not likely to be shared by those who defend their causal relevance. I sketch an alternative conception of dispositions that links them more closely to their causal bases, but argue that even on this model dispositions are causally impotent. The paper closes with a defense of the claim that dispositions, in spite of their causal irrelevance to their manifestations, are nevertheless causal-explanatorily relevant to them.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 9781634350518
DOI 10.5840/wcp20-paideia199810224
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