Stephen Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role in metaphysics and philosophy of science is. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties - from the spin of a subatomic particle andthe solubility of sugar to a person's belief that zebras have stripes. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind, and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world. They have seemed to many to reside on the fringes of actuality, waiting to manifestthemselves; Mumford's clear, straightforward, realist account reveals them to be far less enigmatic, and shows that an understanding of dispositions is essential to an understanding of properties, causation, and scientific laws.
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a-conditions account of dispositions actual anti-realist argue ascribe behaviour categorical base categorical properties causal base causal explanation causal powers causal role causally efficacious causally impotent cause ceteris paribus chapter characterized claim conceptual necessity conditional analysis connection contingent Cummins disposition ascription disposition manifestation disposition term dispositional and categorical dispositional essentialism dispositional properties dispositional-categorical distinction dispositionalist dissolving eliminativism eliminativist empiricist entails existence explanatory fragile functional role functionalist functionalist theory hence Humean instantiated kind laws of nature logically material implication means Mellor mental non-dispositional notion object occur ontology overdetermination Pargetter particular philosophy of mind physical plausible position possessed possible predicate premiss Prior problem property ascriptions property dualism property instance property monism question realist reduced reductionism relation rigid designation Ryle Sect seems sense soluble statement Supervenience theory of dispositions thesis things tion tional trivial true truth truth-value type of property ungrounded dispositions variable realization verificationist W. V. O. Quine