Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Matthew Tugby

Tugby, Matthew (2012). Rescuing Dispositionalism from the Ultimate Problem: Reply to Barker and Smart. Analysis 72(4): 723-731.

Author(s) from Durham


Barker and Smart have argued that dispositional monism is just as susceptible to the ultimate regress problem as Armstrong’s contingent necessitation view of laws. In this response, I consider what implications this conclusion has for the dispositional essentialist project more generally. I argue that it is the monistic aspect of dispositional monism, rather than the dispositional essentialist aspect, which is the source of the problem raised by Barker and Smart. I then outline a version of dispositional essentialism which avoids the ultimate problem by avoiding the commitment to monism. Despite the article by Barker and Smart, it is not time to give up on the dispositionalist project yet.