Mackie and Shoemaker on Dispositions and Properties
Version of Record online: 7 MAY 2008
Midwest Studies In Philosophy
Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 77–91, September 1984
How to Cite
ROSENBERG, A. (1984), Mackie and Shoemaker on Dispositions and Properties. Midwest Studies In Philosophy, 9: 77–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4975.1984.tb00053.x
- Issue online: 7 MAY 2008
- Version of Record online: 7 MAY 2008
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In “Dispositions and Powers,” J. L. Mackie identifies three different “ontological views about dispositions”:
The first is the one Armstrong calls phenomenalist and ascribes to Ryle: we attribute a minimal disposition, which is in effect to assert a conditional or set of conditionals, themselves to be interpreted as inference tickets; but this does not mean anything is going on in the things to which we attribute the disposition which is not going on in similar things from which we withhold this description.
The second is the ‘realist’ view, that dispositions have occurrent (and concurrent) categorical bases consisting of properties which are not in themselves peculiarly dispositional, though they may be introduced in the dispositional style and may be known only as the bases of these dispositions; although the dispositional descriptions are conditional-entailing, the properties to which they point are only contingently related to the displays of the dispositions. The third is what we may call the rationalist view; dispositions (while still being intrinsically dispositional and conditional-entailing) are real occurrent states of the object, different from anything a realist would call a categorical basis (which may or may not be there as well), but actually present both when the disposition is being manifested and when it is not.