Ideas from 'Dispositions' by Stephen Mumford [1998], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Dispositions' by Mumford,Stephen [OUP 1998,978-0-19-925982-3]].

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7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Modest realism says there is a reality; the presumptuous view says we can accurately describe it
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
Anti-realists deny truth-values to all statements, and say evidence and ontology are inseparable
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
Dispositions and categorical properties are two modes of presentation of the same thing
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
Categorical properties and dispositions appear to explain one another
Categorical predicates are those unconnected to functions
There are four reasons for seeing categorical properties as the most fundamental
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 7. Emergent Properties
A lead molecule is not leaden, and macroscopic properties need not be microscopically present
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
Dispositions are attacked as mere regularities of events, or place-holders for unknown properties
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Dispositions are classifications of properties by functional role
If dispositions have several categorical realisations, that makes the two separate
I say the categorical base causes the disposition manifestation
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
All properties must be causal powers (since they wouldn't exist otherwise)
Intrinsic properties are just causal powers, and identifying a property as causal is then analytic
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
Dispositions are ascribed to at least objects, substances and persons
Dispositions can be contrasted either with occurrences, or with categorical properties
Unlike categorical bases, dispositions necessarily occupy a particular causal role
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers
Maybe dispositions can replace powers in metaphysics, as what induces property change
If dispositions are powers, background conditions makes it hard to say what they do
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional
Orthodoxy says dispositions entail conditionals (rather than being equivalent to them)
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / e. Dispositions as potential
Dispositions are not just possibilities - they are features of actual things
There could be dispositions that are never manifested
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers
If every event has a cause, it is easy to invent a power to explain each case
Traditional powers initiate change, but are mysterious between those changes
Categorical eliminativists say there are no dispositions, just categorical states or mechanisms
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 11. Essence of Artefacts
Many artefacts have dispositional essences, which make them what they are
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / c. Truth-function conditionals
Truth-functional conditionals can't distinguish whether they are causal or accidental
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / d. Non-truthfunction conditionals
Dispositions are not equivalent to stronger-than-material conditionals
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Nomothetic explanations cite laws, and structural explanations cite mechanisms
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / d. Lawlike explanations
General laws depend upon the capacities of particulars, not the other way around
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
If fragile just means 'breaks when dropped', it won't explain a breakage
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation
Subatomic particles may terminate explanation, if they lack structure
Maybe dispositions can replace the 'laws of nature' as the basis of explanation
To avoid a regress in explanations, ungrounded dispositions will always have to be posited
14. Science / D. Explanation / 4. Explanation Doubts / a. Explanation as pragmatic
Ontology is unrelated to explanation, which concerns modes of presentation and states of knowledge
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / d. Source of kinds
Natural kinds, such as electrons, all behave the same way because we divide them by dispositions
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
In the 'laws' view events are basic, and properties are categorical, only existing when manifested
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 3. Laws and Generalities
Without laws, how can a dispositionalist explain general behaviour within kinds?
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
It is a regularity that whenever a person sneezes, someone (somewhere) promptly coughs
Dretske and Armstrong base laws on regularities between individual properties, not between events
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
The necessity of an electron being an electron is conceptual, and won't ground necessary laws
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences
Some dispositions are so far unknown, until we learn how to manifest them