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Stephen Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role in metaphysics and philosophy of science is. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties - from the spin of a subatomic particle and the solubility of sugar to a person's belief that zebras have stripes. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind, and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world. They have seemed to many to reside on the fringes of actuality, waiting to manifest themselves; Mumford's clear, straightforward, realist account reveals them to be far less enigmatic, and shows that an understanding of dispositions is essential to an understanding of properties, causation, and scientific laws.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Dispositions, Stephen Mumford confronts the toughest and most important metaphysical issues about dispositions....Dispositions reads pretty easily in part because it is free of the technical notation that is so tempting to introduce and in part because it is extremely well written and produced. Mumford also reveals his deep understanding of the philosophical problem of dispositions in that the book stays focused on the most imperative matters, never straying to pet issues more amenable to advancement."--The Philosophical Review

"...Mumford's book is the most detailed and seriously worked out study of dispositions yet...[His] theory is an interesting account of dispositions which comes very close to the true nature of those amazing and important properties."--Erkenntnis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199259823
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Nottingham
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Table of Contents

1. Threats and Promises
2. Dispositions in Mind and Matter
3. The Conditional Analysis
4. The Dispositional-Categorical Distinction
5. Property Dualism
6. Dispositions as Causes
7. Property Monism
8. Eliminativism and Reductionism
9. A Functionalist Theory of Dispositions
10. Laws of Nature Outlawed

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