Article

Ability

Evan Butts

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online October 2018 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0377
Ability

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Ability attribution is a common and important feature of both everyday and theoretical discourse. People are given jobs, picked for teams, and so forth on the basis of their possession (or lack of possession) of some ability. More theoretically, whether or not humans have free will is often thought to hinge upon what we are able to do given certain facts. What are abilities, then, and when does an agent have them? Agents have the ability to do something when, in some sense, they can do that thing. Likewise, agents lack the ability to do something when, in some sense, they cannot do that thing. However simple these statements may seem, there is a great deal of literature attempting to make precise their full meaning. This entry will provide references to some of the most accessible and directly relevant resources concerning the concept “ability” and its primary uses in major philosophical literature.

Article.  4808 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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