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Besson, Corine, , . Logical knowledge and ordinary reasoning
2012, Philosophical Studies 158 (1):59-82.
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Abstract: This paper argues that the prominent accounts of logical knowledge have the consequence that they conflict with ordinary reasoning. On these accounts knowing a logical principle, for instance, is having a disposition to infer according to it. These accounts in particular conflict with so-called ‘reasoned change in view’, where someone does not infer according to a logical principle but revise their views instead. The paper also outlines a propositional account of logical knowledge which does not conflict with ordinary reasoning.

Comment: This paper proposes a certain characterisation of what it is to have knowledge of logical principles which makes it compatible with the way in which we reason ordinarily. It can be seen as an alternative to Harman’s view in ‘Change in View’ according to which ordinary people do not at all ’employ’ a deductive logic in reasoning. Thus this paper could be used in a course on the role of logic in reasoning, following the reading of Harman’s work. More generally, this reading is suitable for any advanced undergraduate course or postgraduate course on the topic of rationality.

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Choi, Shungho, , Michael Fara. Dispositions
2012, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: This is a perfect overview article that serves as a general introduction to the topic of dispositions. It is composed of six sections that review the main philosophical approaches to the most important questions: Analysis of disposition ascription, the dispositional/categorical distinction, dispositions and categorical bases, the intrinsicness of dispositions and the causal efficacy of dispositions.

Comment: A very good overview paper to introduce undergraduate students to the topic of dispositions.
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Choi, Shungho, , . The Conditional Analysis of dispositions and the intrinsic dispositions Thesis
2009, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78(3): 568-590.
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Abstract: The idea that dispositions are an intrinsic matter has been popular among contemporary philosophers of dispositions. This paper first states this idea as exactly as possible. Then it examines whether it poses any threat to the two current versions of the conditional analysis of dispositions, namely, the simple and reformed conditional analysis of dispositions. The upshot is that the intrinsic nature of dispositions, when properly understood, doesn’t spell trouble for either of the two versions of the conditional analysis of dispositions. Along the way,the author proposes an extensionally correct and practically useful criterion for identifying nomically intrinsic dispositions and criticizes one objection raised by Lewis against the simple conditional analysis of dispositions.

Comment: The article explains the different views about the connection between dispositions and counterfactual conditionals. It could be useful for senior undergraduates or for postgraduates interested in the metaphysics of conditional analyses.

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Vetter, Barbara, , . Dispositional Essentialism and the Laws of Nature
2012, In Alexander Bird, Brian Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.), Properties, Powers, and Structures. Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Routledge.
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Summary: In this paper, Vetter looks at the argument for Dispositional Essentialism (DE) that has been put forward by A. Bird in his recent book Nature’s Metaphysics. Bird’s overall argument comes in two parts, one negative and one positive, which together are to establish DE as the best contender for a theory of properties and laws. Vetter argues that, even if all their particular steps go through, both parts of the argument have significant gaps. The negative argument, if successful, shows that at least one property has an essence, but not that any property has a dispositional essence. The positive argument, which aims to demonstrate the explanatory power of DE, fails to take account of the quantitative nature of the fundamental natural properties and laws. The paper finishes by suggesting a revision of DE’s doctrine that might solve the latter problem, but yet remains to be spelled out.

Comment: This paper explores in detail the metaphysics of dispositions. It is a good secondary reading for those who have already read Armstrong or Alexander Bird. Vetter writes in a very clear way, but a basic background in metaphysics might be needed to fully understand the paper. This reading is then more suitable for postgraduate courses in metaphysics or philosophy of science.

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Vetter, Barbara, , . Dispositions without conditionals
2014, Mind 123(489): 129-156.
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Abstract: Dispositions are modal properties. The standard conception of dispositions holds that each disposition is individuated by its stimulus condition(s) and its manifestation(s), and that their modality is best captured by some conditional construction that relates stimulus to manifestation as antecedent to consequent. In this paper Vetter proposes an alternative conception of dispositions: each disposition is individuated by its manifestation alone, and its modality is closest to that of possibility – a fragile vase, for instance, is one that can break easily. The view is expounded in some detail and defended against the major objections.

Comment: This article serves as a complementary reading for the book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, or as a replacement for those who are only interested in Vetter’s analysis of dispositions and not in her entire theory of potentialities. Recommendable for postgraduate courses in philosophy of language, metaphysics or philosophy of science.

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Vetter, Barbara, , . Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality
2015, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: This book develops and defends dispositionalism about modality: the view that metaphysical modality is a matter of the dispositions that objects have. Dispositionalism is an attractive view for actualists about modality, and for anyone who embraces an anti-Humean metaphysics of powers. This book shows in detail how such a view is to be formulated, which challenges it faces, and how they may be met. The metaphysics of potentiality is examined in detail to show that the view meets the three main challenges for a metaphysics of modality: (1) Extensional correctness: providing the right truth-values for statements of possibility and necessity; (2) formal adequacy: providing the right logic for metaphysical modality; and (3) semantic utility: providing a semantics that links ordinary modal language to the metaphysics of modality.

Comment: The book develops the dispositionalist view in a way that takes account of contemporary developments in metaphysics, logic, and semantics. It can be used as a main reading in metaphysics and as further reading in many other fields. Recommendable in principle for postgraduate courses.

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