Advanced

Levi on the Reality of Dispositions

Persson, Johannes LU (2006) In Knowledge and Inquiry. Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi p.313-326
Abstract
Isaac Levi is more interested in inquiry and how it progresses than he is in metaphysics. Questions concerning the role of disposition predicates in inquiry are more central to him than those concerning the nature and reality of dispositions. It has not stopped him from giving me and others very useful metaphysical advice. Currently, where empirical metaphysics is in vogue, there is every reason to see whether the two forms of philosophical interest might interlock substantially.



Levi has stimulating ideas indeed on the two forms of philosophical interest, and has recently summarized them in the slogan: “The reality of dispositions is a work in progress” (Levi 2003, p. 152). We can learn much about what kinds of... (More)
Isaac Levi is more interested in inquiry and how it progresses than he is in metaphysics. Questions concerning the role of disposition predicates in inquiry are more central to him than those concerning the nature and reality of dispositions. It has not stopped him from giving me and others very useful metaphysical advice. Currently, where empirical metaphysics is in vogue, there is every reason to see whether the two forms of philosophical interest might interlock substantially.



Levi has stimulating ideas indeed on the two forms of philosophical interest, and has recently summarized them in the slogan: “The reality of dispositions is a work in progress” (Levi 2003, p. 152). We can learn much about what kinds of dispositions are acceptable from tracing and comparing the histories of successful and less successful disposition predicates in scientific inquiry.



Levi explores one route along which dispositions become real. His idea is that the introduction of dispositions facilitates covering law explanation by increasing the number of laws. The successful disposition predicate eventually becomes integrated in scientific theory, much like an ordinary theoretical term, whereas the unsuccessful does not. My impression is that Levi thinks that this is the only way a disposition can become real. To evaluate this claim, an alternative course suggested by Jon Elster is introduced. I then try to bring out the differences between Levi's and Elster's views on dispositions, partly by suggesting that they resemble two aspects of full explanations discussed by Wesley Salmon. But more about that below. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Isaac, Pragmatism, Levi, dispositions, mechanisms, Elster, metaphysics
in
Knowledge and Inquiry. Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi
editor
Olsson, Erik J. and
pages
313 - 326
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84926105608
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bf6ba087-ca88-41ee-aae3-79bf1e390d55 (old id 534751)
date added to LUP
2007-09-26 12:16:33
date last changed
2017-01-01 07:58:03
@inbook{bf6ba087-ca88-41ee-aae3-79bf1e390d55,
  abstract     = {Isaac Levi is more interested in inquiry and how it progresses than he is in metaphysics. Questions concerning the role of disposition predicates in inquiry are more central to him than those concerning the nature and reality of dispositions. It has not stopped him from giving me and others very useful metaphysical advice. Currently, where empirical metaphysics is in vogue, there is every reason to see whether the two forms of philosophical interest might interlock substantially.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Levi has stimulating ideas indeed on the two forms of philosophical interest, and has recently summarized them in the slogan: “The reality of dispositions is a work in progress” (Levi 2003, p. 152). We can learn much about what kinds of dispositions are acceptable from tracing and comparing the histories of successful and less successful disposition predicates in scientific inquiry.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Levi explores one route along which dispositions become real. His idea is that the introduction of dispositions facilitates covering law explanation by increasing the number of laws. The successful disposition predicate eventually becomes integrated in scientific theory, much like an ordinary theoretical term, whereas the unsuccessful does not. My impression is that Levi thinks that this is the only way a disposition can become real. To evaluate this claim, an alternative course suggested by Jon Elster is introduced. I then try to bring out the differences between Levi's and Elster's views on dispositions, partly by suggesting that they resemble two aspects of full explanations discussed by Wesley Salmon. But more about that below.},
  author       = {Persson, Johannes},
  editor       = {Olsson, Erik J.},
  keyword      = {Isaac,Pragmatism,Levi,dispositions,mechanisms,Elster,metaphysics},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {313--326},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Knowledge and Inquiry. Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi},
  title        = {Levi on the Reality of Dispositions},
  year         = {2006},
}