Philosophy Compass 12 (8):e12432 (2017)

Barbara Vetter
Freie Universität Berlin
Romy Jaster
Humboldt-University, Berlin
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 consider ways of implementing that approach. Our results suggest that there are principled disanalogies between abilities and disposition which prevent any dispositional account of abilities from succeeding.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1111/phc3.12432
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
How to Speak of the Colors.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (3):221-263.
Finkish Dispositions.David K. Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
A (Different) Virtue Epistemology.John Greco - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):1-26.
Dispositions and Conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Knowing Without Having The Competence to Do So.Jaakko Hirvelä - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):110-118.
Ability, Frankfurt Examples, and Obligation.Ishtiyaque Haji & Ryan Hebert - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (2):163-190.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Are Abilities Dispositions?Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Synthese 196 (1).
Dispositional Abilities.Ann Whittle - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
Masked Abilities and Compatibilism.M. Fara - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):843-865.
Abilities to Act.Randolph Clarke - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):893-904.
Abilities.John Maier - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dispositional Knowledge-How Versus Propositional Knowledge-That.Gregor Damschen - 2009 - In Gregor Damschen, Robert Schnepf & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Debating Dispositions. Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter. pp. 278-295.
Abilities to Do Otherwise.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3017-3035.
Ability, Modality, and Genericity.John Maier - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):411-428.
Understanding: Not Know-How.Emily Sullivan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):221-240.
Cognitive Structure, Logic, and Language.Grant Gillett - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (3):292-293.


Added to PP index

Total views
121 ( #75,737 of 2,343,523 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
48 ( #13,109 of 2,343,523 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes