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Contra Static Dispositions

Andrei A. Buckareff ORCID logo, Marc Andrews and Shane Brennan
From the journal Metaphysica


Work on dispositions focuses chiefly on dispositions that are manifested in dynamic causal processes. Williams, Neil. 2005. “Static and Dynamic Dispositions.” Synthese 146: 303–24 has argued that the focus on dynamic dispositions has been at the expense of a richer ontology of dispositions. He contends that we ought to distinguish between dynamic and static dispositions. The manifestation of a dynamic disposition involves some change in the world. The manifestation of a static disposition does not involve any change in the world. In this paper, we concede that making a conceptual distinction between dynamic and static dispositions is useful and we allow that we can truthfully represent objects as manifesting static dispositions. However, we argue that the distinction is not ontologically deep. Rather, the truthmakers for our representations of static dispositions are actually dynamic dispositions to whose manifestations we may fail to be sensitive.

Corresponding author: Andrei A. Buckareff, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2021-03-11

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