Extended Dispositionalism and Determinism

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Modal dispositionalists hold that dispositions provide the foundation of metaphysical necessity and possibility. According to the kind of modal dispositionalism that can be found in the present literature, a proposition p is possible just in case some things are disposed to be such that p. In the first part of this paper I show that combining this classic form of dispositionalism with the assumptions that the laws of nature are necessary and deterministic and that all dispositions are forward-looking in time leads to the unattractive conclusion that every truth is necessary. I argue that the classic dispositionalist should be troubled by this result and in the second part of the paper I suggest a novel variant of dispositionalism that avoids it. This extended form of dispositionalism allows that some propositions are only indirectly underwritten by dispositions.

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Jonas Werner
University of Bern

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