SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Ryle's Conditional Analysis of Dispositions
(Metaphysics and Ontology, English)

The conditional analysis of dispositions, of the form ∀x (Sx ⊃ Mx), is frequently associated with and accredited to Gilbert Ryle. This misrepresents Ryle's view, since he held what is today an unorthodox view of conditionals: namely, as the ordinary indicative conditionals indicated by the phrase 'if...then...', such that they license us to make inferences (hence they are ''inference-tickets''). A surprising result of this, I argue, is that Ryle's view is in fact closer to a tendency-view, as defended amongst others by Mumford and Anjum. Further, as in contrast to the material and counterfactual conditional it allows the antecedent to be true and the consequent false, his conditional analysis turns out to be invulnerable to the well-known problems of antidotes, masks, and finks, and could thus be a viable alternative to contemporary analyses of dispositions. Thus instead of expanding the antecedent, a more promising revision is to reinterpret the conditional relation holding between the antecedent and consequent. Still, Ryle's conditional analysis seems to fail as an analysis, thus suggesting that causation is sui generis. Lastly it is argued that Strawson's closely related view, which does assert an ontological connection between the antecedent and the consequent, matches very well with a dispositional view of causation.

Chair: Tomi Francis
Time: 11:45-12:15, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.003

Petter Sandstad 
(Rostock, Germany)

I am a doctoral student in philosophy at Universität Rostock (third year), working on formal causation in Aristotle and contemporary philosophy. Before that I studied at the university of Oslo.

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