Tn this paper I explore and to an extent defend HS. The main philosophical challenges to HS come from philosophical views that say that nomic concepts-laws, chance, and causation-denote features of the world that fail to supervene on non-nomic features. Lewis rejects these views and has labored mightily to construct HS accounts of nomic concepts. His account of laws is fundamental to his program, since his accounts of the other nomic notions rely on it. Recently, a number of philosophers have (...) criticized Lewis's account, and Humean accounts of laws generally, for delivering, at best, a pale imitation ofthe genuine item. These philosophers think that the notion of law needed by science requires laws-if there are any-to be fundamental features of our world that are completely distinct from and not supervenient on the particular facts that they explain. I side with Lewis against these philosophers. Here I will argue that although Lewis-laws don't fulfill all our philosophical expectations, they do play the roles that science needs laws to play. The metaphysics and epistemology of Humean laws, and more specifically, Lewis-laws, are in much better shape than the metaphysics and epistemology of the main anti-Humean alternatives. However, I do have inisgivings about Lewis's account. Both he and his critics assume that the basic properties are so individuated so that the laws are not metaphysically necessary. If this assumption is rejected, then the question of Humean supervenience lapses. I conclude with a brief discussion of this position. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim is one of the most preeminent and most influential contributors to the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. This collection of essays presents the core of his work on supervenience and mind with two sets of postscripts especially written for the book. The essays focus on such issues as the nature of causation and events, what dependency relations other than causal relations connect facts and events, the analysis of supervenience, and the mind-body problem. A central problem in (...) the philosophy of mind is the problem of explaining how the mind can causally influence bodily processes. Professor Kim explores this problem in detail, criticizes the nonreductionist solution of it, and offers a modified reductionist solution of his own. Both professional philosophers and their graduate students will find this an invaluable collection. (shrink)
I argue that supervenience is an inadequate device for representing relations between different levels of phenomena. I then provide six criteria that emergent phenomena seem to satisfy. Using examples drawn from macroscopic physics, I suggest that such emergent features may well be quite common in the physical realm.
Can groups be rational agents over and above their individual members? We argue that group agents are distinguished by their capacity to mimic the way in which individual agents act and that this capacity must 'supervene' on the group members' contributions. But what is the nature of this supervenience relation? Focusing on group judgments, we argue that, for a group to be rational, its judgment on a particular proposition cannot generally be a function of the members' individual judgments on (...) that proposition. Rather, it must be a function of their individual sets of judgments across many propositions. So, knowing what the group members individually think about some proposition does not generally tell us how the group collectively adjudicates that proposition: the supervenience relation must be 'set-wise', not 'proposition-wise'. Our account preserves the individualistic view that group agency is nothing mysterious, but also suggests that a group agent may hold judgments that are not directly continuous with its members' corresponding individual judgments. (shrink)
The representational theory of phenomenal experience is often stated in terms of a supervenience thesis: Byrne recently characterises it as the thesis that “there can be no difference in phenomenal character without a difference in content”, while according to Tye, “[a]t a minimum, the thesis is one of supervenience: necessarily, experiences that are alike in their representational contents are alike in their phenomenal character.” Consequently, much of the debate over whether representationalism is true centres on purported counter-examples – (...) that is to say, purported failures of supervenience. The refutation of putative counter-examples has been, it seems to me, by and large successful. But there is a certain class of these for which the representationalist response has been something less than completely convincing. These are the cross-modality cases. I will explain what I mean, and then argue that the response in question is not only unconvincing but actually undermines the representationalist position. (shrink)
The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and (...) argue that the resulting formulation of physicalism is compatible with physicalism’s best traditional rival: a naturalist emergentism. Others have argued that supervenience-based formulations of physicalism fail. My aim here, besides addressing the full spectrum of supervenience-based approaches, is to show how certain philosophical and scientific theses concerning naturalism, properties, and laws give us new reasons to think that supervenience-based formulations of physicalism are untenable. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that anti-reductionist moral realism still has trouble explaining supervenience. My main target here will be Russ Shafer-Landau's attempt to explain the supervenience of the moral on the natural in terms of the constitution of moral property instantiations by natural property instantiations. First, though, I discuss a recent challenge to the very idea of using supervenience as a dialectical weapon posed by Nicholas Sturgeon. With a suitably formulated supervenience thesis in hand, I (...) try to show how Shafer-Landau's proffered strategy to explain supervenience not only fails to explain supervenience, but that it also has a number of implausible consequences. The more general lesson is that strategies which may work well for explaining supervenience in the philosophy of mind and other areas cannot be assumed to carry over successfully to the metaethical context. We should therefore treat so-called `companions in guilt' arguments in this area of philosophy with considerable skepticism. Key Words: expressivism moral realism non-naturalism reductionism supervenience trope. (shrink)
This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories.I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions.The overall claim (...) of this paper will be that emergence is logically independent both of reduction and of supervenience. In particular, one can have emergence with reduction, as well as without it; and emergence without supervenience, as well as with it.Of the subsidiary claims, the four main ones (each shared with some other authors) are: I defend the traditional Nagelian conception of reduction (Sect. 3);I deny that the multiple realisability argument causes trouble for reductions, or “reductionism” (Sect. 4);I stress the collapse of supervenience into deduction via Beth’s theorem (Sect. 5.1);I adapt some examples already in the literature to show supervenience without emergence and vice versa (Sect. 5.2). (shrink)
When it comes to evaluating reductive hypotheses in metaphysics, supervenience arguments are the tools of the trade. Jaegwon Kim and Frank Jackson have argued, respectively, that strong and global supervenience are sufficient for reduction, and others have argued that supervenience theses stand in need of the kind of explanation that reductive hypotheses are particularly suited to provide. Simon Blackburn's arguments about what he claims are the specifically problematic features of the supervenience of the moral on the (...) natural have also been influential. But most discussions of these arguments have proceeded under the strong and restrictive assumptions of the S5 modal logic. In this paper we aim to remedy that defect, by illustrating in an accessible way what happens to these arguments under relaxed assumptions and why. The occasion is recent work by Ralph Wedgwood, who seeks to defend non-reductive accounts of moral and mental properties together with strong supervenience, but to evade both the arguments of Kim and Jackson and the explanatory challenge by accepting only the weaker, B, modal logic. In addition to drawing general lessons about what happens to supervenience arguments under relaxed assumptions, our goal is therefore to shed some light on both the virtues and costs of Wedgwood's proposal. (shrink)
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 (and suggests a few new ones) without (...) ignoring the complexities uncovered during work over the past two decades. I test my analysis by applying it to the problem of defining physicalism, concluding that the thesis of physicalism is best captured by the conjunction of two supervenience relations. (shrink)
Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as the supervenience base (...) for the truth of past-directed propositions. In this paper, I argue that a fundamentally tensed approach to truthmaking is implausible because it requires the existence of cross-temporal supervenience relations, which are anathema to presentism. (shrink)
Non-reductive physicalists have made a number of attempts to provide the relation of supervenience between levels of properties with enough bite to analyze interesting cases without at the same time losing the relation's acceptability for the physicalist. I criticize some of these proposals and suggest an alternative supplementation of the supervenience relation by imposing a requirement of robustness which is motivated by the notion of structural stability familiar from dynamical systems theory. Robust supervenience, I argue, captures what (...) the non-reductive physicalist wants from supervenience; most importantly, it provides a natural background for reconstructing the notion of (diachronic) property emergence in a way acceptable to physicalists. (shrink)
THIS PAPER CORRECTS AN ERROR IN MY EARLIER PAPER, "CONCEPTS OF SUPERVENIENCE" ("PHILOSOPHY AND PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH", VOLUME 45, 1984), AND PRESENTS FURTHER MATERIAL ON SUPERVENIENCE. THE ERROR IS THE CLAIM THAT "GLOBAL" SUPERVENIENCE ENTAILS "STRONG" SUPERVENIENCE. HOWEVER, IT IS ARGUED THAT THIS FAILURE OF ENTAILMENT ONLY GOES TO SHOW THE INADEQUACY OF GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE AS AN EXPLICATION OF "DEPENDENCY" OR "DETERMINATION" RELATION, AND, IN PARTICULAR, THAT MATERIALISM FORMULATED IN TERMS OF GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE APPEARS TOO (...) WEAK. (IT IS POINTED OUT, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE DOES NOT ENTAIL "WEAK" SUPERVENIENCE). A STRONGER FORM OF GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE, BASED ON "SIMILARITY" RATHER THAN "INDISCERNIBILITY" BETWEEN WORLDS, IS FORMULATED AND BRIEFLY DISCUSSED. (shrink)
Two versions of global supervenience have recently been distinguished from each other. I introduce a third version, which is more likely what people had in mind all along. However, I argue that one of the three versions is equivalent to strong supervenience in every sense that matters, and that neither of the other two versions counts as a genuine determination relation. I conclude that global supervenience has little metaphysically distinctive value.
-/- In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of (moral) obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not (...) simply reducible to individual obligations; and that collective obligations supervene on individual obligations, without being reducible to them. The sort of supervenience I have in mind here is what is sometimes called ‘global supervenience’. In other words, there cannot be two worlds which differ in respect of the collective obligations which exist in them without also differing in respect of the individual obligations which exist in them. (shrink)
The metaphysical relation of supervenience has seen most of its service in the fields of the philosophy of mind and ethics. Although not repaying all of the hopes some initially invested in it – the mind-body problem remains stubbornly unsolved, ethics not satisfactorily naturalized – the use of the notion of supervenience has certainly clarified the nature and the commitments of so- called non-reductive materialism, especially with regard to the questions of whether explanations of supervenience relations are (...) required and whether such explanations must amount to a kind of reduction. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that the ethical supervenes on the natural, where this is roughly the claim that it is impossible for two circumstances to be identical in all natural respects, but different in their ethical respects. This chapter refines and defends the traditional thought that this fact poses a significant challenge to ethical non-naturalism, a view on which ethical properties are fundamentally different in kind from natural properties. The challenge can be encapsulated in three core claims which the chapter (...) defends: that a defensible non-naturalism is committed to the supervenience of the ethical, that this commits the non-naturalist to a brute necessary connection between properties of distinct kinds, and that commitment to such brute connections counts against the non-naturalist’s view. Each of these claims has recently been challenged. Against Nicholas Sturgeon’s recent doubts about the dialectical force of supervenience, this chapter defends a supervenience thesis as deserving to be common ground among ethical realists. It is then argued that attempts to explain supervenience on behalf of the non-naturalist either fail as explanations, generate near-identical explanatory burdens elsewhere, or appeal to commitments that are inconsistent with core motivations for non-naturalism. The chapter concludes that, suitably refined, the traditional argument against nonnaturalism from supervenience is alive and well. (shrink)
Two concepts of supervenience, "strong supervenience" and "weak supervenience," are characterized and contrasted, And their major properties established. Supervenience as commonly characterized by philosophers is shown to correspond to weak supervenience, Whereas the intended concept is often the stronger relation. Strong supervenience is applied to explicate the notion of "supervenient causation," and it is argued that macro-Causal relations can be understood as cases of supervenient causation, And that causal relations involving psychological events, Too, Can (...) be so understood. (shrink)
Horgan claims that physicalism requires "superdupervenience" -- supervenience plus robust ontological explanation of the supervenient in terms of the base properties. I argue that Horgan's account fails to rule out physically unacceptable emergence. I rather suggest that this and other unacceptable possibilities may be ruled out by requiring that each individual causal power in the set associated with a given supervenient property be numerically identical with a causal power in the set associated with its base property. I go on (...) to show that a wide variety of physicalist accounts, both reductive and non-reductive, are implicitly or explicitly designed to meet this condition, and so are more similar than they seem. In particular, non-reductive physicalism accounts typically appeal to a relation plausibly ensuring that the powers of a higher-level property are a proper subset of those of its physical base property. (shrink)
Some argue, following Bertrand Russell, that because general truths are not entailed by particular truths, general facts must be posited to exist in addition to particular facts. I argue on the contrary that because general truths (globally) supervene on particular truths, general facts are not needed in addition to particular facts; indeed, if one accepts the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existents, one can further conclude that there are no general facts. When entailment and supervenience do not (...) coincide it is only failure of supervenience, not failure of entailment, that carries ontological import. (shrink)
Humeans hold that the nomological features of our world, including causal facts, are determined by the global distribution of fundamental properties. Since persistence presupposes causation, it follows that facts about personal identity are also globally determined. I argue that this is unacceptable for a number of reasons, and that the doctrine of Humean supervenience should therefore be rejected.
The aim of this paper is to show that Kim’s ‚supervenience argument’ is at best inconclusive and so fails to provide an adequate challenge to nonreductive physicalism. I shall argue, first, that Kim’s argument rests on assumptions that the nonreductive physicalist is entitled to regard as question-begging; second, that even if those assumptions are granted, it is not clear that irreducible mental causes fail to␣satisfy them; and, third, that since the argument has the overall structure of a reductio, which (...) of its various premises one performs the reductio on remains open to debate in an interesting way. I shall finally suggest that the issue of reductive vs. nonreductive physicalism is best contested not in the arena of mental causation but in that in which the issues pertaining to theory and property reduction are currently being debated. (shrink)
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 supervenience theses that deliver this determination relation. (shrink)
In the first section of this paper, I articulate Jaegwon Kim's argument against emergent down ward causation. In the second section, I canvas four responses to Kim's argument and argue that each fails. In the third section, I show that emergent downward causation does not, contra Kim, entail overdetermination. I argue that supervenience of emergent upon base properties is not sufficient for nomological causal relationsbetween emergent and base properties. What sustains Kim's argument is rather the claim that emergent properties (...) realized by base properties can have no causal powers distinct from those base properties. I argue that this is false. (shrink)
Virtually everyone takes the moral supervenience thesis to be a basic conceptual truth about morality. As a result, if a metaethical theory has difficulties respecting or adequately explaining the supervenience relationship it is deemed to be in big trouble. However, the moral supervenience thesis is a not a conceptual truth (though it may be true) and as such it is not a problem if a metaethical theory cannot respect or explain it.
As part of his ongoing critique of metaphysical realism, Hilary Putnam has recently argued that current materialist theories of mind that locate mental phenomena in the brain can make no sense of the proposed identifications of mental states with physical (or physical cum computational) states, or of the supervenience of mental properties with physical properties. The aim of this paper is to undermine Putnam's objections and reassert the intelligibility – and perhaps the plausibility – of some form of mind-body (...) identity and supervenience. (shrink)
In his recent book, Jaegwon Kim argues thatpsychophysical supervenience withoutpsychophysical reduction renders mentalcausation `unintelligible'. He also claimsthat, contrary to popular opinion, his argumentagainst supervenient mental causation cannot begeneralized so as to threaten the causalefficacy of other `higher-level' properties:e.g., the properties of special sciences likebiology. In this paper, I argue that none ofthe considerations Kim advances are sufficientto keep the supervenience argument fromgeneralizing to all higher-level properties,and that Kim's position in fact entails thatonly the properties of fundamental physicalparticles are (...) causally efficacious. (shrink)
Statues and lumps of clay are said by some to coincide - to be numerically distinct despite being made up of the same parts. They are said to be numerically distinct because they differ modally. Coincident objects would be non-modally indiscernible, and thus appear to violate the supervenience of modal properties on nonmodal properties. But coincidence and supervenience are in fact consistent if the most fundamental modal features are not properties, but are rather relations that are symmetric as (...) between coincident entities, relations such as "opposite-possibly surviving being squashed". (shrink)
The doctrine of Microphysical Supervenience (MS) states that: Necessarily, if atoms A1 through An compose an object that exemplified intrinsic qualitative properties Q1 through Qn, then atoms like A1 through An (in all their respective intrinsic qualitative properties), related to one another by all the same restricted atom-to-atom relations as A1 through An, compose an object that exemplifies Q1 through Qn. I show that MS entails a contradiction and so must be rejected. And my argument against MS provides the (...) resources to show that Global Microphysical Supervenience (GMS) is false. GMS states that possible worlds qualitatively exactly alike at the microphysical level are qualitatively exactly alike at the macrophysical level. (shrink)
According to the thesis of modal supervenience it is impossible that two objects be alike in their actual properties but differ in their modal properties. Some have argued that the concept of supervenience is inapplicable to the modal-actual case. Some have argued that the thesis of modal supervenience is trivially true. These arguments are refuted; a thesis of the supervenience of the modal on the actual is meaningful and nontrivial. The significance of the thesis is nevertheless (...) limited by the problem of finding a nonmodal specification for the purported subvenient properties. (shrink)
I argue that the semantic thesis of direct reference and the meta- physical thesis of the supervenience of the non-physical on the physical cannot both be true. The argument ﬁrst develops a necessary condition for supervenience, a so-called conditional locality requirement, which is then shown to be incompatible with some physical object having object dependent properties, which in turn is required for the thesis of direct reference to be true. We apply this argument to formulate a new argument (...) against the claim that a thisness is analyzable in purely general terms, one that does not rely on complete symmetry nor the falsity of the identity of indiscernibles. I outline a strategy at the end how the conclusion could be avoided, at a price. (shrink)
It is shown that Lewisâ ontological doctrine of Humean supervenience incorporates at its foundation the so-called separability principle of classical physics. In view of the systematic violation of the latter within quantum mechanics, the claim that contemporary physical science may posit non-supervenient relations beyond the spatiotemporal ones is reinforced on a foundational basis concerning constraints on the state representation of physical systems. Depending on the mode of assignment of states to quantum systems â unit state vectors versus statistical density (...) operators â we distinguish between strongly and weakly non-Humean, non-supervenient relations. It is demonstrated that in either case, the relations of quantum entanglement constitute prototypical examples of irreducible physical relations that do not supervene upon a spatiotemporal arrangement of Humean qualities, weakening, thereby, the thesis of Humean supervenience. In this respect, the status of Lewisâ recombination principle is examined, whereas his conception of lawhood is critically investigated. It is concluded that the assumption of ontological reductionism, as expressed in Lewisâ Humean doctrine, cannot be regarded as a reliable code of the nature of the physical world and its contents. It is proposed instead that due to the undeniable existence of non-supervenient relations, a metaphysic of relations of a moderate kind ought to be acknowledged as an indispensable part of our understanding of the natural world at a fundamental level. (shrink)
This paper is an investigation into the nature of physicalism as well as to the possibility of formulating physicalism as a supervenience thesis. First, I review the motivation for finding a supervenience thesis that characterizes physicalism. Second, I briefly survey the types of supervenience theses that have been proposed as necessary (or, in some cases, as necessary and sufficient) for physicalism. Third, I analyze the recent supervenience thesis proposed by Frank Jackson and expounded upon by Gene (...) Witmer. Jackson claims the supervenience thesis is both necessary and sufficient for physicalism; Witmer has proposed a different interpretation of one of the Jackson’s key notions and has suggested an amended supervenience thesis that is, if not sufficient, at least necessary for physicalism. However, I will argue that neither Jackson’s nor Witmer’s supervenience theses as stated are necessary for physicalism. (shrink)
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, a distinction thanks to which we can reply to a standard objection against the ontological reductionism of strong supervenience. Second, I claim that because of "the problem of random distribution," global supervenience needs strengthening to be an adequate relation to capture our physicalistic intuitions; and I show, in accordance with Stalnaker's relevant proof, why a natural strengthening of global supervenience renders it equivalent to strong supervenience. Finally, I argue against Stalnaker about the possibility of a non-reductionist global supervenience. The upshot is that despite appearances, supervenience physicalism is a form of reductive physicalism. (shrink)
Nonreductive materialism is the dominant position in the philosophy of mind. The global supervenience of the mental on the physical has been thought by some to capture the central idea of nonreductive materialism: that mental properties are ultimately dependent on, but irreducible to, physical properties. But Jaegwon Kim has argued that global psychophysical supervenience does not provide the materialist with the desired dependence of the mental on the physical, and in general that global supervenience is too weak (...) to be an interesting dependence relation. We argue that these arguments are unsound. Along the way, we clarify the relationship between global and strong supervenience, and show clearly what sort of dependence global supervenience provides. (shrink)
I take the debate between the particularists and the principlists to be centered on the issue of whether there are true moral principles. One argument the principlists often appeal to in support of their claim that there are true moral principles is the argument from supervenience. Roughly, the argument is made up of the following three statements: (P1) If the thesis of moral supervenience holds, then there are true moral principles. (P2) The thesis of moral supervenience holds. (...) (C) There are true moral principles, and hence particularism is false. In this paper, I argue that the above argument is not sound by attacking (P1). I hold that no general supervenient/resultance base has a robust enough configuration of contextual features as to ground the existence of true moral principles. If I am right about this, I think it would be indicative of a reason to be less confident about the truth of principlism and more confident about the truth of particularism. (shrink)
The interpretation of Lewis?s doctrine of natural properties is difficult and controversial, especially when it comes to the bearers of natural properties. According to the prevailing reading ? the minimalist view ? perfectly natural properties pertain to the micro-physical realm and are instantiated by entities without proper parts or point-like. This paper argues that there are reasons internal to a broadly Lewisian kind of metaphysics to think that the minimalist view is fundamentally flawed and that a liberal view, according to (...) which natural properties are instantiated at several or even at all levels of reality, should be preferred. Our argument proceeds by reviewing those core principles of Lewis?s metaphysics that are most likely to constrain the size of the bearers of natural properties: the principle of Humean supervenience, the principle of recombination in modal realism, the hypothesis of gunk, and the thesis of composition as identity. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the intuitions which made Davidson and Hare use the word "supervenience," were not the same as those which underlie current supervenience discussions. There are crucial differences between, on the one hand, the concerns of Davidson and Hare, as I interpret them, and "received" theories of supervenience on the other. I suggest the use of the term by Davidson and Hare lends support to turning the concept upside down by giving priority to (...) the Manifest Image rather than the Scientific Image (which underlies the received physicalistic paradigm of supervenience). (shrink)
In his paper "Supervenience Revisisted", Simon Blackburn redeployed his novel modal argument against moral realism as an argument against Donald Davidson's position of 'anomalous monism' in the philosophy of mind (Blackburn 1985).' I shall assess this redeployment. In the first part of this paper, I shall lay out Blackburn's argument. In the second and longer part I shall examine Davidson's denial of psychophysical laws in the light of this argument.
This paper tries to show that Kims strategy of preventing the problem of generalization of mental causation is not successful and that his original supervenience argument can be applied to cases of nonmental macrolevel causation, with the effect that nonmental macroproperties which only supervene on, but are not identical with, configurations of microproperties turn out to be epiphenomenal after all.
THIS PAPER ARGUES THAT GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE IS NOT\nEQUIVALENT TO KIM'S STRONG SUPERVENIENCE (AS HE HAS ARGUED\nIT IS) AND THAT IT DOES NOT ENTAIL THE TYPE OR TOKEN\nREDUCIBILITY OF THE SUPERVENIENT PROPERTIES TO THE\nPROPERTIES UPON WHICH THEY SUPERVENE (AS STRONG\nSUPERVENIENCE DOES). IT THEN TURNS TO AN EXAMINATION OF THE\nARGUMENT THAT GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE IS EQUIVALENT TO\nIMPLICIT DEFINABILITY WHICH ACCORDING TO BETH'S THEOREM\nENTAILS EXPLICIT DEFINABILITY. THE AUTHOR HOPES TO SHOW\nTHAT GLOBAL SUPERVENIENCE IS A DISTINCT AND ESPECIALLY\nINTERESTING RELATION WHICH CAPTURES (...) ASPECTS OF THE\nRELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND THOSE\nPROPERTIES WHICH ARE DETERMINED BY THEM THAT OTHER\nRELATIONS DO NOT DO JUSTICE TO. (shrink)
After some preliminary clarifications, arguments for the supposed asymmetry of supervenience and determination, such as they are, are shown to be unsound. An argument against the supposed asymmetry is then constructed and defended against objections. This is followed by explanations of why the intuition of asymmetry is nonetheless so entrenched, and of how the asymmetric ontological priority of the physical over the non-physical can be understood without the supposed asymmetry of supervenience and determination.
The existence and importance of supervenience principles for identity across times and worlds have been noted, but insufficient attention has been paid to their precise nature. Such attention is repaid with philosophical dividends. The issues in the formulation of the supervenience principles are two. The first involves the relevant variety of supervenience: that variety is global, but there are in fact two versions of global supervenience that must be distinguished. The second involves the subject matter: the (...) names “identity over time” and “identity across worlds” are misnomers, for in neither case is identity at issue. The philosophical dividends then follow. Nathan Salmon’s argument that identity over time needs no “grounds” in matters of qualitative fact can be answered, as can an argument offered by many, that coincident objects (such as statues and lumps of clay) would require objectionably ungrounded differences in identities across times and worlds. (shrink)
Acceptance of Humean Supervenience and thereductive Humean analyses that entail it leadsto a litany of inadequately explained conflictswith our intuitions regarding laws andpossibilities. However, the non-reductiveHumeanism developed here, on which law claimsare understood as normative rather than factstating, can accommodate those intuitions. Rational constraints on such norms provide aset of consistency relations that ground asemantics formulated in terms offactual-normative worlds, solving theFrege-Geach problem of construing unassertedcontexts. This set of factual-normative worldsincludes exactly the intuitive sets ofnomologically possible worlds associated witheach (...) possible set of laws. The extension ofthe semantics to counterfactual and subjunctiveconditionals is sketched. Potential objectionsinvolving subjectivity, mind-dependence, andnon-factuality are discussed. (shrink)
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 supervenience. (shrink)
The discussion of supervenience is replete with the use of in?nitary logical operations. For instance, one may often ?nd a supervenient property that corresponds to an in?nite collection of supervenience-base properties, and then ask about the in?nite disjunction of all those base properties. This is crucial to a well-known argument of Kim (1984) that supervenience comes nearer to reduction than many non-reductive physicalists suppose. It also appears in recent discussions such as Jackson (1998).