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Further Antidotes: a Response to Gundersen

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In my ‘Dispositions and Antidotes’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 48 (1998), I raise an objection to the conditional analysis of dispositions, both in its simple formulation and in a more sophisticated version due to David Lewis, The Philosophical Quarterly, 47 (1997). The objection suggests that a disposition may be continuously present and the appropriate stimulus occur without the manifestation occurring, because some outside influence, an antidote, interferes. Gundersen in The Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000), argues that my objection rests on an equivocation about which object possesses the disposition and more particularly on an equivocation about the context in which the events referred to take place, and that when the equivocation is resolved the counter-example disappears. I respond by showing that the counter-example does remain if we take contextual and mereological issues into account, and I conclude by remarking that the difference with Lewisdepends on whether certain features are seen as significant for the semanticsand metaphysics of dispositions or as merely characteristic of the pragmaticsof common usage.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Edinburgh

Publication date: 2000-04-01

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