What does abilities mean?

Definitions for abilities

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word abilities.

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  1. abilitiesnoun

    Plural form of ability.


  1. abilities

    Abilities are powers an agent has to perform various actions. They include common abilities, like walking, and rare abilities, like performing a double backflip. Abilities are intelligent powers: they are guided by the person's intention and executing them successfully results in an action, which is not true for all types of powers. They are closely related to but not identical with various other concepts, such as disposition, know-how, aptitude, talent, potential, and skill. Theories of ability aim to articulate the nature of abilities. Traditionally, the conditional analysis has been the most popular approach. According to it, having an ability means one would perform the action in question if one tried to do so. On this view, Michael Phelps has the ability to swim 200 meters in under 2 minutes because he would do so if he tried to. This approach has been criticized in various ways. Some counterexamples involve cases in which the agent is physically able to do something but unable to try, due to a strong aversion. In order to avoid these and other counterexamples, various alternative approaches have been suggested. Modal theories of ability, for example, focus on what is possible for the agent to do. Other suggestions include defining abilities in terms of dispositions and potentials. An important distinction among abilities is between general abilities and specific abilities. General abilities are abilities possessed by an agent independent of their situation while specific abilities concern what an agent can do in a specific situation. So while an expert piano player always has the general ability to play various piano pieces, they lack the corresponding specific ability in a situation where no piano is present. Another distinction concerns the question of whether successfully performing an action by accident counts as having the corresponding ability. In this sense, an amateur hacker may have the effective ability to hack his boss's email account, because they may be lucky and guess the password correctly, but not the corresponding transparent ability, since they are unable to reliably do so. The concept of abilities and how they are to be understood is relevant for various related fields. Free will, for example, is often understood as the ability to do otherwise. The debate between compatibilism and incompatibilism concerns the question whether this ability can exist in a world governed by deterministic laws of nature. Autonomy is a closely related concept, which can be defined as the ability of individual or collective agents to govern themselves. Whether an agent has the ability to perform a certain action is important for whether they have a moral obligation to perform this action. If they possess it, they may be morally responsible for performing it or for failing to do so. Like in the free will debate, it is also relevant whether they had the ability to do otherwise. A prominent theory of concepts and concept possession understands these terms in relation to abilities. According to it, it is required that the agent possess both the ability to discriminate between positive and negative cases and the ability to draw inferences to related concepts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Abilities

    of Ability

Editors Contribution

  1. abilities

    Plural form of the word ability.

    We are human beings with a range of abilities relevant to our soul's purpose on this earth.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 2, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. abilities

    Song lyrics by abilities -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by abilities on the Lyrics.com website.

How to pronounce abilities?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of abilities in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of abilities in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of abilities in a Sentence

  1. Lee Chang-min:

    The third generation is taking over, but their abilities aren't proven, so the process of finding the most suitable CEO has become more transparent.

  2. John F. Kennedy:

    Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.

  3. John Adams:

    [D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.

  4. Jocelyn Keaveney:

    The Secret Service relies on partnerships to provide the highest level of dignitary protection in the world. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is a truly dedicated partner, and we have the utmost confidence in the PSNI’s abilities to work side by side with our agency. We remain grateful for their ongoing support during the president’s visit.

  5. John Watson:

    There’s a wide range of abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. … We serve that whole range, and we call everyone an athlete, no matter what your ability is.

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Translations for abilities

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"abilities." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/abilities>.

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    (of a glutinous liquid such as paint) not completely dried and slightly sticky to the touch
    • A. tacky
    • B. equivalent
    • C. proprietary
    • D. extroversive

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