Mackie and Shoemaker on Dispositions and Properties

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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 conditionalā€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 conditionalā€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. Copyright © 1984, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors


Published Date

  • January 1, 1984

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 77 - 91

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1475-4975

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0363-6550

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1475-4975.1984.tb00053.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus