, Volume 144, Issue 3, pp 343–356



DOI: 10.1007/s11229-005-5864-3

Cite this article as:
Heil, J. Synthese (2005) 144: 343. doi:10.1007/s11229-005-5864-3


Appeals to dispositionality in explanations of phenomena in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, require that we first agree on what we are talking about. I sketch an account of what dispositionality might be. That account will place me at odds with most current conceptions of dispositionality. My aim is not to establish a weighty ontological thesis, however, but to move the discussion ahead in two respects. First, I want to call attention to the extent to which assumptions philosophers have made about dispositionality are far from innocent. The assumptions incorporate substantive theses that, by constraining the space of ‘acceptable’ answers to particular philosophical questions, have inhibited the search for answers to those questions. Second, and more positively, I hope to open up the space of possibilities by offering an alternative way of conceiving dispositionality developed by C. B. Martin.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDavidson CollegeDavidsonU.S.A
  2. 2.School of Philosophy and BioethicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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