2008 EPS Papers (Schultz)

November 20, 2008
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Walter Schultz

Dispositions, Capacities, and Powers: A New Analysis

Abstract: In scientific and ordinary discourse, it is not unusual for any of us to attribute dispositional properties to objections. Examples includes the solubility of salt and the compassion of a person. Furthermore, the issue of ungrounded dispositional properties has attracted an increasing amount of attention in recent years not only from the standpoint of theoretical physics, but more so from contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science. However, it is well known that the various attempts made in the 20th century to account for dispositional properties by means of analyses of counterfactual conditionals (the simple conditional analysis, the familiar Stalnaker-Lewis possible worlds analysis, and Lewis’ reformed conditinal analysis) have been found inadequate prompting more revisionsand counter-proposals. In this paper, I offer a justification based on four widely-accepted conditions that any account must meet to be considered adequate.