Single Idea 15461

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional]

Full Idea

A disposition which would straight away vanish if put to the test is called 'finkish'. A finkishly fragile thing is fragile so long as it is not struck. But if it were struck, it would straight away cease to be fragile, and it would not break.


A 'fink' is a worker planted by the bosses to undermine a strike!

Gist of Idea

A 'finkish' disposition is real, but disappears when the stimulus occurs


David Lewis (Finkish dispositions [1997], I)

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology' [CUP 1999], p.134

A Reaction

There are also 'antidotes'. Finks kill the disposition, antidotes kill the effect. These cases are problems for the simple conditional analysis of a disposition - because we never achieved the consequent.