[lit-ideas] An Undisposed Fink

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 09:27:00 EST

In a message dated 11/17/2004 5:32:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
Robert.Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
To say  that there are 'non-actualised' dispositions is
just to say that the person  who allegedly has such a disposition does not do 
(This follows trivially  from what it means to say that the disposition is
'non-actualised.') The  evidence that such a person has any disposition at all
with regard to x  must then lie elsewhere. In the case of persons, our
conceptually primitive  psychology prevents of from saying just what such
evidence would be: there  is nothing like the molecular structure of fragile
things which can be  appealed to here. 

Part of the problem concerns what David Lewis has called a 'fink',  
dispositions such as they disappear when you most need them. E.g. Patricia may  
have a 
disposition to sing, but when pressed, she starts to fell indisposed,  etc. 
Lewis claimed that most dispositions are indeed _finks_ and there's nothing  
much you can do about them.
On the other hand, Lady Hampshire (Nancy Cartwright) thought that Sir  
Stuart's account of dispositions provides a good framework for the philosophy 
science. Oddly, Hampshire's point was about dispositions in persons, while  
Cartwright's rewrite (available online) is on dispositions in things like the  


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  • » [lit-ideas] An Undisposed Fink