The Square of Disposition

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I propose a classification of dispositions according to two parameters: (i) whether their argument is a causer, and (ii) whether they are (almost) always realized or only sometimes realized. This results in a four way distinction, which I represent as the Square of Disposition. Each cell of this square corresponds to a different type of disposition; I show that each such type is expressed by a distinct linguistic expression. This correspondence between philosophy-based and linguistics-based distinctions shows the potential usefulness of linguistic considerations in philosophical debates.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number90
Pages (from-to)1-19
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • -able adjectives
  • -er nominals
  • Active disposition
  • Can
  • Capability
  • Classification of dispositions
  • Middles
  • Passive disposition
  • Passivility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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