Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 195–209 | Cite as

Rule-following, ideal conditions and finkish dispositions

  • Andrea Guardo
Article

Abstract

This paper employs some outcomes (for the most part due to David Lewis) of the contemporary debate on the metaphysics of dispositions to evaluate those dispositional analyses of meaning that make use of the concept of a disposition in ideal conditions. The first section of the paper explains why one may find appealing the notion of an ideal-condition dispositional analysis of meaning and argues that Saul Kripke’s well-known argument against such analyses is wanting. The second section focuses on Lewis’ work in the metaphysics of dispositions in order to call attention to some intuitions about the nature of dispositions that we all seem to share. In particular, I stress the role of what I call ‘Actuality Constraint’. The third section of the paper maintains that the Actuality Constraint can be used to show that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist (in so doing, I develop a suggestion put forward by Paul Boghossian). This immediately implies that ideal-condition dispositional analyses of meaning cannot work. The last section discusses a possible objection to my argument. The point of the objection is that the argument depends on an illicit assumption. I show (1) that, in fact, the assumption in question is far from illicit and (2) that even without this assumption it is possible to argue that the dispositions with which ideal-condition dispositional analyses identify my meaning addition by ‘+’ do not exist.

Keywords

Rule-following Ideal conditions Dispositions Finks Saul Kripke David Lewis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Earlier versions of (some parts of) this paper were given at the VIII National Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy and at the Università degli Studi di Milano in February 2009. A distant ancestor of the argument of this paper appeared in my (2009a, pp. 80–82). The book is a slightly revised version of my PhD thesis, which I defended in January 2008.

References

  1. Bird, A. (1998). Dispositions and antidotes. The Philosophical Quarterly, 48(2), 227–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bird, A. (2007). Nature’s metaphysics—laws and properties. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Blackburn, S. (1984). The individual strikes back. Synthese, 58(3), 281–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boghossian, P. A. (1989). The rule-following considerations. Mind, 98(4), 507–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boghossian, P. A. (2008). Epistemic rules. The Journal of Philosophy, 105(9), 472–500.Google Scholar
  6. Dretske, F. I. (1981). Knowledge and the flow of information. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Fara, M. (2005). Dispositions and habituals. Noûs, 39(1), 43–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fodor, J. A. (Ed.) (1990). A theory of content, II: The theory. In A theory of content and other essays (pp. 89–136). Cambridge-London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Guardo, A. (2009a). Il Mito del Dato. Milano-Udine: Mimesis.Google Scholar
  10. Guardo, A. (2009b). The argument from normativity against dispositional analyses of meaning. In V. A. Munz, K. Puhl, & J. Wang (Eds.), Language and worldpapers of the XXXII international Wittgenstein Symposium (pp. 163–165). Kirchberg am Wechsel: Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.Google Scholar
  11. Guardo, A. (forthcoming). Kripke’s account of the rule-following considerations. European Journal of Philosophy. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2010.00414.x.
  12. Hampshire, S. (1953). Dispositions. Analysis, 14(1), 5–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Handfield, T., & Bird, A. (2008). Dispositions, rules, and finks. Philosophical Studies, 140(2), 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hattiangadi, A. (2006). Is meaning normative? Mind & Language, 21(2), 220–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hauska, J. (2008a). Dispositions and normal conditions. Philosophical Studies, 139(2), 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hauska, J. (2008b). In defence of causal bases. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 86(1), 23–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hauska, J. (2009). Dispositions unmasked. Theoria, 75(4), 304–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnston, M. (1992). How to speak of the colors. Philosophical Studies, 68(3), 221–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kripke, S. (1982) [1981]. Wittgenstein on rules and private languagean elementary exposition. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Kusch, M. (2005). Fodor V. Kripke: Semantic dispositionalism, idealization and ceteris paribus clauses. Analysis, 65(2), 156–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lewis, D. (1997). Finkish dispositions. The Philosophical Quarterly, 47(2), 143–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, D. (2001) [1973]. Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Manley, D., & Wasserman, R. (2008). On linking dispositions and conditionals. Mind, 117(1), 59–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martin, C. B. (1994). Dispositions and conditionals. The Philosophical Quarterly, 44(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Martin, C. B., & Heil, J. (1998). Rules and powers. Philosophical Perspectives, 12(1), 283–312.Google Scholar
  26. McKitrick, J. (2003a). A case for extrinsic dispositions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 81(2), 155–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McKitrick, J. (2003b). The bare metaphysical possibility of bare dispositions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 66(2), 349–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McKitrick, J. (2005). Are dispositions causally relevant? Synthese, 144(3), 357–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Prior, E. W., Pargetter, R., & Jackson, F. (1982). Three theses about dispositions. American Philosophical Quarterly, 19(3), 251–257.Google Scholar
  30. Wikforss, Å. M. (2001). Semantic normativity. Philosophical Studies, 102(2), 203–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di FilosofiaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations