The generalization problem and the identity solution

Erkenntnis 72 (1):57 - 72 (2010)
For some time now, Jaegwon Kim has argued that irreducible mental properties face the threat of causal inefficacy. The primary weapon he deploys to sustain this charge is the supervenience/exclusion argument. This argument, in a nutshell, states that any mental property that irreducibly supervenes on a physical property is excluded from causal efficacy because the underlying physical property takes care of all of the causal work itself. Originally intended for mental properties alone, it did not take long for his critics to suggest the argument generalizes across all of the special science properties as well. Kim responds in two different ways to the generalization problem. The first response, which I call the higher-level solution, is ably dismissed by numerous critics. The second response, which I call the identity solution, has not faced comparable scrutiny. In this paper I argue that the identity solution faces numerous problems of its own.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Ethics   Ontology   Epistemology   Philosophy
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DOI 10.2307/20642280
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D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.

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