The dispositional/categorical distinction

Dan Ryder (UNC Chapel Hill)


Following the demise of the simple subjunctive conditional "analysis" of dispositional concepts, a satisfactory account of the conceptual distinction between the dispositional and the categorical is needed. I argue that attempts to characterize the distinction due to Stephen Mumford, D. H. Mellor, and Elizabeth Prior, Robert Pargetter and Frank Jackson all fail. My new take on the old idea of grounding the distinction in conditional entailments avoids the problems that plague these other accounts. I propose that disposition ascriptions entail a certain kind of modal conditional, whereas categorical ascriptions do not.

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