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Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism

Since the mid-90s dispositionalism, the view that dispositions are irreducible, real properties, gained strength due to forceful counterexamples (finks and antidotes) that could be launched against Humean anti-dispositionalist attempts to reductively analyse dispositional predicates.

In the light of these anti-Humean successes, and in combination with ideas surrounding metaphysical necessity put forward by Kripke and Putnam, some dispositionalists felt encouraged to propose a strong anti-Humean view under the name of “Dispositional Essentialism”.

In this paper, I show that, ironically, the counterexamples dispositionalists have used against the Humean reductive analysis of dispositional predicates also prove to be problems for a strong form of dispositional essentialism that assimilates dispositionality and metaphysical necessity.

Help comes from an unlike ally—Carnapian reductions sentences—but the alliance is not unproblematic.

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