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Supervenience and Physicalism

Edited by Jessica Wilson (University of Toronto, University of Toronto at Scarborough)
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  1. David M. Armstrong (1982). Metaphysics and Supervenience. Critica 42 (42):3-17.
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  2. Andrew R. Bailey (1998). Supervenience and Physicalism. Synthese 117 (1):53-73.
    Discussion of the supervenience relation in the philosophical literature of recent years has become Byzantine in its intricacy and diversity. Subtle modulations of the basic concept have been tooled and retooled with increasing frequency, until supervenience has lost nearly all its original lustre as a simple and powerful tool for cracking open refractory philosophical problems. I present a conceptual model of the supervenience relation that captures all the important extant concepts without ignoring the complexities uncovered during work over the past (...)
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  3. Joseph A. Baltimore (2013). Careful, Physicalists: Mind–Body Supervenience Can Be Too Superduper. Theoria 79 (1):8-21.
    It has become evident that mind–body supervenience, as merely specifying a covariance between mental and physical properties, is consistent with clearly non-physicalist views of the mental, such as emergentism. Consequently, there is a push in the physicalist camp for an ontologically more robust supervenience, a “superdupervenience,” that ensures that properties supervening on physical properties are physicalistically acceptable. Jessica Wilson claims that supervenience is made superduper by Condition on Causal Powers (CCP): each individual causal power associated with a supervenient property is (...)
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  4. Joseph A. Baltimore (2013). Type Physicalism and Causal Exclusion. Journal of Philosophical Research 38:405-418.
    While concerns of the mental being causally excluded by the physical have persistently plagued non-reductive physicalism, such concerns are standardly taken to pose no problem for reductive type physicalism. Type physicalists have the obvious advantage of being able to countenance the reduction of mental properties to their physical base properties by way of type identity, thereby avoiding any causal competition between instances of mental properties and their physical bases. Here, I challenge this widely accepted advantage of type physicalism over non-reductive (...)
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  5. Michael Baumgartner & Lorenzo Casini (forthcoming). An Abductive Theory of Constitution. Philosophy of Science.
    The first part of this paper finds Craver’s (2007) mutual manipulability theory (MM) of constitution inadequate, as it definitionally ties constitution to the feasibility of idealized experiments, which, however, are unrealizable in principle. As an alternative, the second part develops an abductive theory of constitution (NDC), which exploits the fact that phenomena and their constituents are unbreakably coupled via common causes. The best explanation for this common-cause coupling is the existence of an additional dependence relation, viz. constitution. Apart from adequately (...)
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  6. Suzanne Bliss & Jordi Fernández (2011). Does the Supervenience Argument Generalize? Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):321-346.
    We evaluate the scope of Jaegwon Kim's “supervenience argument” for reduction. Does its conclusion apply only to psychology, or does it generalize to all the special sciences? The claim that the supervenience argument generalizes to all the special sciences if it goes through for psychology is often raised as an objection to the supervenience argument. We argue that this objection is ambiguous. We distinguish three readings of it and suggest that some of them make it a plausible claim, whereas other (...)
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  7. Andrew Botterell (2002). Physicalism, Supervenience, and Dependence: A Reply to Campbell. Dialogue 41 (1):155-161.
    Neil Campbell has argued that certain problems with the doctrine of psycho-physical supervenience can be overcome if supervenience is viewed as a relation between predicates rather than as a relation between properties. Campbell suggests that, when properly understood, this predicate version of supervenience "expresses a form of psycho-physical dependence that might be useful to those who wish to argue for a supervenience-based physicalism”. In this note I indicate why I think we ought to resist this suggestion. First, I argue quite (...)
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  8. Neil Campbell (2002). Physicalism, Supervenience, and Dependence: A Reply to Botterell. Dialogue 41 (1):163-167.
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  9. David Charles (1992). Supervenience, Composition, and Physicalism. In David Charles & Kathleen Lennon (eds.), Reduction, Explanation and Realism. Oxford University Press
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  10. David Charles & Kathleen Lennon (eds.) (1992). Reduction, Explanation, and Realism. Oxford University Press.
    The contributors to this volume examine the motivations for anti-reductionist views, and assess their coherence and success, in a number of different fields, including moral and mental philosophy, psychology, organic biology, and the social sciences.
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  11. Erhan Demircioglu (2011). Supervenience and Reductive Physicalism. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (1):25-35.
    Supervenience physicalism attempts to combine non-reductionism about properties with a physical determination thesis in such a way as to ensure physicalism. I argue that this attempt is unsuccessful: the specific supervenience relation in question is either strong enough to ensure reductionism, as in the case of strong supervenience, or too weak to yield physical determination, as in the case of global supervenience. The argument develops in three stages. First, I propose a distinction between two types of reductionism, definitional and scientific, (...)
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  12. Esa Diaz-Leon (2008). We Are Living in a Material World (and I Am a Material Girl). Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):85-101.
    In this paper I examine the question of whether the characterization of physicalism that is presupposed by some influential anti-physicalist arguments, namely, the so-called conceivability arguments, is a good characterization of physicalism or not. I compare this characterization with some alternative ones, showing how it can overcome some problems, and I defend it from several objections. I conclude that any arguments against physicalism characterised in that way are genuine arguments against physicalism, as intuitively conceived.
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  13. Ronald P. Endicott (forthcoming). Functionalism, Superduperfunctionalism, and Physicalism: Lessons From Supervenience. Synthese:1-31.
    Philosophers almost universally believe that concepts of supervenience fail to satisfy the standards for physicalism because they offer mere property correlations that are left unexplained. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of those relations. Moreover, many philosophers not only prefer some kind of functional-role theory as a physically acceptable account of mind-body and other inter-level relations, but they use it as a form of “superdupervenience” to explain supervenience in a physically acceptable way. But I reject a central part of (...)
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  14. Thomas Gardner (2005). Supervenience Physicalism: Meeting the Demands of Determination and Explanation. Philosophical Papers 34 (2):189-208.
    Abstract Non-reductive physicalism is currently the most widely held metaphysic of mind. My aim in this essay is to show that supervenience physicalism?perhaps the most common form of non-reductive physicalism?is not a defensible position. I argue that, in order for any supervenience thesis to ground a legitimate form of physicalism, it must yield the right sort of determination relation between physical and non-physical properties. Then I argue that non-reductionism leaves one without any explanation for the laws that are implied by (...)
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  15. John Haugeland (1984). Ontological Supervenience. Southern Journal of Philosophy Supplement 22 (S1):1-12.
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  16. John Heil (1995). Supervenience Redux. In Elias E. Savellos & U. Yalcin (eds.), Supervenience: New Essays. Cambridge University Press
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  17. G. Hellman (1985). Determination and Logical Truth. Journal of Philosophy 82 (November):607-16.
    Some remarks on determination, physicalism, model theory, and logical truth.//An attempt to defend physicalism against objections that its bases are indeterminate.
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  18. Giovanna Hendel (2001). Physicalism, Nothing Buttery, and Supervenience. Ratio 14 (3):252-262.
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  19. Christopher S. Hill (1998). Supervenience and Materialism. Philosophical Review 107 (1):115-117.
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  20. Terence E. Horgan (1993). From Supervenience to Superdupervenience: Meeting the Demands of a Material World. Mind 102 (408):555-86.
  21. Terence E. Horgan (1984). Supervenience and Cosmic Hermeneutics. Southern Journal of Philosophy Supplement 22 (S1):19-38.
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  22. Terence E. Horgan (1982). Supervenience and Microphysics. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 63 (January):29-43.
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  23. Terence E. Horgan (1981). Token Physicalism, Supervenience, and the Generality of Physics. Synthese 49 (December):395-413.
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  24. Terry Horgan (2009). Materialism, Minimal Emergentism, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism: New Essays. Oxford University Press
  25. Anthony I. Jack (1994). Materialism and Supervenience. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (4):426-43.
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  26. Stephen Kearns & Ofra Magidor (2012). Semantic Sovereignty. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):322-350.
  27. Jaegwon Kim (ed.) (2002). Supervenience. Ashgate.
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  28. Robert Kirk (1996). Strict Implication, Supervenience, and Physicalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):244-57.
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  29. Douglas Kutach (2011). Reductive Identities: An Empirical Fundamentalist Approach. Philosophia Naturalis 47 (1):67-101.
    I sketch a philosophical program called ‘Empirical Fundamentalism,’ whose signature feature is the extensive use of a distinction between fundamental and derivative reality. Within the framework of Empirical Fundamentalism, derivative reality is treated as an abstraction from fundamental reality. I show how one can understand reduction and supervenience in terms of abstraction, and then I apply the introduced machinery to understand the relation between water and H2O, mental states and brain states, and so on. The conclusion is that such relations (...)
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  30. Stephan Leuenberger (2014). Grounding and Necessity. Inquiry 57 (2):151-174.
  31. Christian List, Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper presents a framework for studying levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and discuss several applications, some of which refer to descriptive or explanatory levels while others refer to ontological levels. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework by bringing it to bear on some familiar philosophical questions. Is there a hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the (...)
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  32. Andrew Melnyk (2008). Can Physicalism Be Non-Reductive? Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1281-1296.
    Can physicalism (or materialism) be non-reductive? I provide an opinionated survey of the debate on this question. I suggest that attempts to formulate non-reductive physicalism by appeal to claims of event identity, supervenience, or realization have produced doctrines that fail either to be physicalist or to be non-reductive. Then I treat in more detail a recent attempt to formulate non-reductive physicalism by Derk Pereboom, but argue that it fares no better.
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  33. Andrew Melnyk (2006). Realization and the Formulation of Physicalism. Philosophical Studies 131 (1):127-55.
    Twenty years ago, Richard Boyd suggested that physicalism could be formulated by appeal to a notion of realization, with no appeal to the identity of the non-physical with the physical. In (Melnyk 2003), I developed this suggestion at length, on the basis of one particular account of realization. I now ask what happens if you try to formulate physicalism on the basis of other accounts of realization, accounts due to LePore and Loewer and to Shoemaker. Having explored two new formulations (...)
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  34. Andrew Melnyk (2003). A Physicalist Manifesto: Thoroughly Modern Materialism. Cambridge University Press.
    A Physicalist Manifesto is a full treatment of the comprehensive physicalist view that, in some important sense, everything is physical. Andrew Melnyk argues that the view is best formulated by appeal to a carefully worked-out notion of realization, rather than supervenience; that, so formulated, physicalism must be importantly reductionist; that it need not repudiate causal and explanatory claims framed in non-physical language; and that it has the a posteriori epistemic status of a broad-scope scientific hypothesis. Two concluding chapters argue in (...)
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  35. Andrew Melnyk (2002). Physicalism. In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell 573-587.
    Written with a student audience in mind, this article surveys the issues raises by the attempt to formulate, argue for, and explore the implications of a comprehensively physicalist view of the world.
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  36. Andrew Melnyk (1991). One World and the Many Sciences: A Defence of Physicalism. Dissertation, Oxford University
    The subject of this thesis is physicalism, understood not as some particular doctrine pertaining narrowly to the philosophy of mind, but rather as a quite general metaphysical claim to the effect that everything is, or is fundamentally, physical. Thus physicalism explicates the thought that in some sense physics is the basic science. The aim of the thesis is to defend a particular brand of physicalism, which I call eliminative type physicalism. It claims, roughly, that every property is a physical property, (...)
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  37. Andrew Melnyk (1991). Physicalism: From Supervenience to Elimination. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (September):573-87.
    Supervenience physicalism holds that all facts, of whatever type, globally supervene upon the physical facts, even though neither type-type nor token-token nonphysical-physical identities hold. I argue that, invoked like this, supervenience is metaphysically mysterious, needing explanation. I reject two explanations (Lewis and Forrest). I argue that the best explanation of the appearance of supervenience is an error-theoretic, projectivist one: there are no nonphysical properties, but we erroneously project such onto the physical world in a systematic way, yielding the appearance of (...)
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  38. Angus Menuge (1993). Supervenience, by Chance? Reply to Crane and Mellor. Analysis 53 (4):228-235.
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  39. R. B. Miller (1990). Supervenience is a Two-Way Street. Journal of Philosophy 87 (12):695-701.
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  40. Barbara Gail Montero (2013). Must Physicalism Imply the Supervenience of the Mental on the Physical? Journal of Philosophy 110 (2):93-110.
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  41. James P. Moreland (1999). Should a Naturalist Be a Supervenient Physicalist? Metaphilosophy 29 (1-2):35-57.
  42. Kevin Morris (forthcoming). Physicalism, Truthmaking, and Levels of Reality: Prospects and Problems. Topoi:1-10.
    This paper considers the extent to which the notion of truthmaking can play a substantive role in defining physicalism. While a truthmaking-based approach to physicalism is prima facie attractive, there is some reason to doubt that truthmaking can do much work when it comes to understanding physicalism, and perhaps austere metaphysical frameworks in general. First, despite promising to dispense with higher-level properties and states, truthmaking appears to make little progress on issues concerning higher-level items and how they are related to (...)
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  43. Kevin Morris (2014). Supervenience Physicalism, Emergentism, and the Polluted Supervenience Base. Erkenntnis 79 (2):351-365.
    A prominent objection to supervenience physicalism is that a definition of physicalism in terms of supervenience allows for physicalism to be compatible with nonphysicalist outlooks, such as certain forms of emergentism. I take as my starting point a recent defense of supervenience physicalism from this objection. According to this line of thought, the subvenient base for emergent properties cannot be said to be purely physical; rather, it is “polluted” with emergent features in virtue of necessarily giving rise to them. Thus, (...)
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  44. Kevin Morris (2014). Causal Closure, Causal Exclusion, and Supervenience Physicalism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):72-86.
    This article considers the recent defense of the supervenience approach to physicalism due to Jaegwon Kim. Kim argues that supervenience supports physical causal closure, and that causal closure supports physicalism – indeed, a kind of reductive physicalism – and thus that supervenience suffices for physicalism. After laying out Kim's argument, I ask whether its success would truly vindicate the role of supervenience in defining physicalist positions. I argue that it would not, and that insofar as Kim's defense of supervenience physicalism (...)
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  45. Kevin Morris (2010). Guidelines for Theorizing About Realization. Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (4):393-416.
    Realization can be roughly understood as a kind of role-playing, a relationship between a property that plays a role and a property characterized by that role. This rough sketch previously received only moderate elaboration; recently, however, several substantive theories of realization have been proposed. But are there any general constraints on a theory of realization? What is a theory of realization supposed to accomplish? I first argue that a view of realization is viable, in part, to the extent that physical (...)
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  46. Paul K. Moser & J. D. Trout (1995). Physicalism, Supervenience, and Dependence. In Elias E. Savellos (ed.), Supervenience: New Essays. Needham Heights: Cambridge 187--217.
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  47. T. Parent (2016). An Objection to the Laplacean Chalmers. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):237-240.
    I discuss David Chalmers’ “scrutability thesis,” roughly that a Laplacean intellect could know every truth about the universe from a “compact class” of basic truths. It is argued that despite Chalmers’ remarks to the contrary, the thesis is problematic owing to quantum indeterminacy. Chalmers attempts to “frontload” various principles into the compact class to help out. But though frontloading may succeed in principle, Chalmers does not frontload enough to avoid the problem.
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  48. Tuomas K. Pernu (2013). Interventions on Causal Exclusion. Philosophical Explorations (2):1-9.
    Philosophical Explorations, Volume 0, Issue 0, Page 1-9, Ahead of Print.
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  49. Thomas W. Polger, Physicalism and Cosmic Hermeneutics: Comments on Horgan.
    It is commonly held that there are two obstacles to precisely formulating the doctrine of physicalism: Hempel’s Problem, and Hume’s Problem.2 Hempel’s Problem is that if physicalism is to be formulated in terms of physics—or in terms of any science, for the problem is fully general if it is a problem at all—whether to use the current or future science. If physicalism is formulated in terms of current physics, then it is most likely false because current physics is at least (...)
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  50. Tom Polger (2013). Physicalism and Moorean Supervenience. Analytic Philosophy 54 (1):72-92.
    G. E. Moore argues that goodness is an intrinsic non-natural property that supervenes irreducibly on the intrinsic natural properties of its bearers. Accordingly, it is often supposed that “Moorean” supervenience is incompatible with physicalism, a naturalistic thesis. In this paper I argue that Moorean supervenience is not in itself incompatible with physicalism, Moore’s ethical non-naturalism notwithstanding. Understanding why will help us to better appreciate the full range of resources available to physicalists.
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