Dispositional Properties

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David Weissman, Apr 1, 1965 - Philosophy - 216 pages
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In Dispositional Properties, David Weissman attacks a problem central to the philosophy of mind and, by implication, to the theory of being: Are there potentialities, capabilities, which dispose the mind to think in one way rather than another?

The volume is arranged in the form of four arguments that converge upon a single point. First, there is an intricate discussion of the shortcomings of Hume's account of mind as ideas and impressions. Next comes a brief treatment of the arguments of some of Weissman's contemporaries, including Carnap and Braithwaite. Third, Weissman discusses Wittgenstein's theories of learning and knowledge. Finally, there is a full discussion of Aristotle and his doctrine of potentialities.

The question this book ultimately raises is how to steer between a doctrine of mind as no more than a series of acts, on the one hand, and a doctrine of mind as a kind of unitary object, on the other. The solution is to show first of all that there must be a potentiality in the universe, and then to show clearly and in detail that the mind is shot through with that potentiality.

 

 

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Page 18 - upon this to be one of the greatest and most valuable discoveries that has been made of late years in the republic of letters, I shall here endeavour to confirm it by some arguments, which I hope will put it beyond all doubt and controversy.
Page 121 - It disperses the fog to study the phenomena of language in primitive kinds of application in which one can command a clear view of the aim and functioning of the words. A child uses such primitive forms of language when it learns to talk. Here the teaching of language is not explanation, but training.
Page 80 - object precedent and contiguous to another, and where all the objects resembling the former are plac'd in like relations of precedency and contiguity to those objects, that resemble the latter.
Page 150 - But how can a rule show me what I have to do at this point? Whatever I do is, on some interpretation, in accord with the rule." — This is not what we ought to say, but rather: any interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and cannot give it any support. Interpretations by themselves do not determine meaning.
Page 72 - in a sufficient number of instances, we immediately feel a determination of the mind to pass from one object to its usual attendant, and to conceive it in a stronger light upon account of that relation.
Page 34 - For this is one of the most extraordinary circumstances in the present affair, that after the mind has produc'd an individual idea, upon which we reason, the attendant custom reviv'd by the general or abstract term, readily suggests any other individual, if by chance we form any reasoning that agrees not with it.
Page 20 - We must certainly seek some new system on this head, and there plainly is none beside what I have propos'd. If ideas be particular in their nature, and at the same time finite in their number, 'tis only by custom they can become general in their representation, and contain an infinite number of other ideas under them.
Page 19 - Tho' the capacity of the mind be not infinite, yet we can at once form a notion of all possible degrees of quantity and quality, in such a manner at least, as, however imperfect may serve all the purposes of reflexion and conversation.
Page 125 - And what is our reason for calling "E" the name of a sensation here? Perhaps the kind of way this sign is employed in this language-game. — And why a "particular sensation," that is, the same one every time? Well, aren't we supposing that we write "E
Page 167 - If that which is deprived of potency is incapable, that which is not happening will be incapable of happening; but he who says of that which is incapable of happening either that it is or that it will be will say what is untrue: for this is what incapacity meant. Therefore

References to this book

A Social Ontology
David Weissman
Limited preview - 2000
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About the author (1965)

David Weissman is a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. He is the author of several books, including Styles of Thought, The Cage, Lost Souls, and A Social Ontology.

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