Philosophical Studies

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 285–298 | Cite as

Dispositions, rules, and finks

  • Toby Handfield
  • Alexander Bird


This paper discusses the prospects of a dispositional solution to the Kripke–Wittgenstein rule-following puzzle. Recent attempts to employ dispositional approaches to this puzzle have appealed to the ideas of finks and antidotes—interfering dispositions and conditions—to explain why the rule-following disposition is not always manifested. We argue that this approach fails: agents cannot be supposed to have straightforward dispositions to follow a rule which are in some fashion masked by other, contrary dispositions of the agent, because in all cases, at least some of the interfering dispositions are both relatively permanent and intrinsic to the agent. The presence of these intrinsic and relatively permanent states renders the ascription of a rule-following disposition to the agent false.


Dispositions Rule-following Finks Antidotes Conditional analysis 



Both authors gratefully acknowledge the support for this research received from the British Academy and the Australian Academy of the Humanities, in the form of a joint projects grant. Handfield was also supported by a British Academy Visiting Fellowship and an Australian Research Council APD Fellowship while undertaking this research. Thanks to Allen Hazen, John Heil, Bruce Langtry, and audiences at University of Melbourne for helpful discussion. Thanks also to the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.University of BristolBristolUK

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