Supervenience and dependence

“Supervenience”, though a philosophers’ notion, has a venerable history. It was used by Leibniz to say that relations are nothing over and above the intrinsic properties of their relata, by Sidgwick to say that moral characteristics covary with non-moral ones, by Moore to say that the former are grounded in the latter, by Hare to say that they stand in some relation of strict implication and by Davidson (1970: 214) to say that “mental characteristics are in some sense dependent, or supervenient, on physical characteristics” (cf. Kim 1990: 136–138). Here is what Robert Stal- naker (1996) says about the “intuitive ideas that motivate the attempts to articulate concepts of supervenience”:
To say that the A-properties or facts are supervenient on the B-properties or facts is
to say that the A-facts are, in a sense, redundant, since they are already implicitly
specified when one has specified all the B-facts. A-facts are not fact ‘over and above’
the B-facts, not something ‘separate’. To state an A-fact, or ascribe an A-property, is
to describe the same reality in a different way, at a different level of abstraction, by
carving the same world at different joints. (Stalnaker 1996: 87)
Kim (1990: 140) identifies three key features of our concept of supervenience: covariance, depend- ency and nonreducibility (where “non-reducibility” means that the supervenience of A-features on B-features is consistent with the former not being reducible to the latter).1 Explanation, sometimes required for reducibility, is absent : supervenience claims state that some patterns of property covariation hold, without explaining why they hold.2.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,970
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

40 ( #59,004 of 1,696,181 )

Recent downloads (6 months)


How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.