Quine on Dispositional Explanations as a Mark of Immature Science and an Alternative Point of View Cover Image
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Куайн за диспозиционните обяснения като белег за незряла наука и една алтернативна гледна точка
Quine on Dispositional Explanations as a Mark of Immature Science and an Alternative Point of View

Author(s): Lilia Gurova
Subject(s): Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language
Published by: Институт за изследвания на обществата и знанието при БАН
Keywords: Quine; Quine on dispositions; dispositional explanations; explanation and understanding; inferential analysis of explanations;inferential content;

Summary/Abstract: Dispositions play a key role in Quine’s philosophy of language as well as in his explanations of behavior. At the same time, Quine argues that the use of dispositional explanations is a mark of immaturity in the scientific disciplines that rely on such explanations. The aim of this paper is to show why Quine’s verdict on dispositional explanations is untenable. First, it is argued that Quine does not attach importance to the fact that even the most mature theories in contemporary physics and biology quite often define their objects through the dispositional properties that these objects supposedly possess. An alternative analysis of dispositional explanations is then proposed, in terms of the inferences that these explanations allow for. The author’s analysis reveals that the inferential content which a dispositional explanation adds is often larger than the inferential content of the rival explanation that replaces the explanatory disposition with underlying structures or mechanisms. This result justifies the assertion that, at least in some cases, dispositional explanations do a better job and should therefore not be treated as a mark of scientific immaturity.

  • Issue Year: XXVII/2018
  • Issue No: 6
  • Page Range: 20-29
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English, Bulgarian