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)
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 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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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 (in the earliest explicit presentation of the powers-based subset strategy) 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. Satisfying this condition is all that is needed to render supervenience superduper. 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. (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)
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)
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)
-/- 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 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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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 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 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.
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)
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)
Supervenience is one of the 'hot discoveries' of recent analytic philosophy, and this collection of new essays on the topic represents a 'state of the art' examination of it and its application to major areas of philosophy. The interest in supervenience has much to do with the flexibility of the concept. To say that x supervenes on y indicates a degree of dependence without committing one to the view that x can be reduced to y. Thus supervenience (...) is a relationship that has the potential of replacing the traditional notion of dependence, while performing at least part of the function reductive relationships were supposed to fulfil. Moreover, since it is a topic-neutral concept, supervenience has a wide range of applicability. (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).
It is often argued that if a mentalproperty supervenes on a physical property, then (1)the mental property M ``inherits'''' its causal efficacyfrom the physical property P and (2) the causalefficacy of M reduces to that of P. However, once weunderstand the supervenience thesis and the concept ofcausation probabilistically, it turns out that we caninfer the causal efficacy of M from that of P andvice versa if and only if a certain condition, whichI call the ``line-up'''' thesis, holds. I argue (...) that thesupervenience thesis entails neither this conditionnor its denial. I also argue that even when theline-up thesis holds true, reductionism about thecausal efficacy of the mental property doesn''tfollow. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim and others have claimed that (strong) psychophysical supervenience entails the reducibility of mental properties to physical properties. I argue that this claim is unwarranted with respect to epistemic (explanatory) reducibility (either of a global or of a local sort), as well as with respect to ontological reducibility. I then attempt to show that a robust version of nonreductive materialism (which I call supervenient token-physicalism) can be defended against the charge that nonreductive materialism leads to epiphenomenalism in failing (...) to account for the causal or explanatory relevance of mental properties. (shrink)
Theodore Sider distinguishes two notions of global supervenience: strong global supervenience and weak global supervenience. He then discusses some applications to general metaphysical questions. Most interestingly, Sider employs the weak notion in order to undermine a familiar argument against coincident distinct entities. In what follows, I reexamine the two notions and distinguish them from a third, intermediate, notion (intermediate global supervenience). I argue that (a) weak global supervenience is not an adequate notion of dependence; (b) (...) weak global supervenience does not capture certain assumptions about coincidence relations; (c) these assumptions are better accommodated by the stronger notion of intermediate global supervenience; (d) intermediate global supervenience, however, is also not an adequate notion of dependence; and (e) strong global supervenience is an adequate notion of dependence. It also fits in with anti-individualism about the mental. It does not, however, serve to rebut arguments against coincident entities. (shrink)
Abstract. Alleged counter-examples based on conceptual thought-experiments, including those involving sense or content, have no force against physicalist supervenience theses properly construed. This is largely because of their epistemological status and their modal status. Still, there are empirical examples that do contradict Kim-style theses, due to the latter's individualism. By contrast, non-individualist supervenience, such as "global" supervenience, remains unscathed, a possibility overlooked by Lynne Baker, as is clear from a physicalist account of sense in the case of (...) non-human biological adaptations that are for producing things about affairs in the world. (shrink)
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.
Jaegwon Kim contends that global supervenience is consistent with non-materialistic cases. Paull and Sider, Horgan, as well as Kim, attempt to defend it from these charges. It is shown here that their defense is only partially successful. Their defense meets one challenge to global supervenience-the hydrogen-atom case-but fails to meet other, `local', cases. It is suggested that the other challenges can be met if global supervenience is combined with weak supervenience. The combination of global and weak (...)supervenience constitutes a viable picture of psychophysical relations, and is especially attractive to nonreductive materialists who are also anti-individualists. (shrink)
Moral particularism, on some interpretations, is committed to a shapeless thesis: the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. (Call this version of moral particularism ‘shapeless moral particularism’). In more detail, the shapeless thesis is that the actions a moral concept or predicate can be correctly applied to have no natural commonality (or shape) amongst them. Jackson, Smith and Pettit (2000) argue, however, that the shapeless thesis violates the platitude ‘predication supervenes on nature’—predicates or concepts apply because of how (...) things are, and therefore ought to be rejected. I defend shapeless moral particularism by arguing that Jackson et al’s contention is less compelling than it firstly appears. My defense is limited in the sense that it does not prove shapeless moral particularism to be right and it leaves open the possibility that shapeless moral particularism might attract criticisms different from the ones advanced by Jackson et al. But at the very least, I hope to say enough to undermine Jackson et al’s powerful attack against it. The plan of this paper is as follows. Section 1 glosses the view of moral particularism and why it is taken to be essentially committed to the shapeless thesis. Section 2 examines a Wittgensteinian argument for the shapeless thesis. I shall argue that the Canberrans’ counter-arguments against it on grounds of disjunctive commonality and conceptual competence do not succeed. Section 3 explicates Canberrans’ predication supervenience argument against the shapeless thesis. Section 4 offers my criticisms of the Canberrans’ predication supervenience argument. In view of the above discussions, in section 5, I conclude that there is no compelling argument (from the Canberrans) to believe that the shapeless thesis fails (as I have argued in section 4). In fact, there is some good reason for us to believe it (as I have argued in section 2). If so, I contend that moral particularism, when construed as essentially committed to the shapeless thesis, still remains as a live option. -/- . (shrink)
The modal primitivist who takes a sentential possibility operator as her only modal resource can provide adequate representations of the familiar concepts of weak, strong and global supervenience. The primitivist representations of these concepts can be applied to provide adequate interpretations of speciflc supervenience theses which will be considered. Moreover the modal primitivist is no better and no worse placed than the genuine modal realist to present supervenience as a simple and unifled notion. Therefore, Lewis is unjustified (...) in claiming that a genuine modal realist approach to the analysis of the concept of supervenience is superior to a modal primitivist approach. (shrink)
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 numerically identical with a causal power associated with its base property. Furthermore, according to Wilson, a wide variety of physicalist positions, both reductive and non-reductive, can be seen as relying on CCP to ensure that properties supervening on physical properties are physicalistically acceptable. I argue that imposing CCP on mind–body supervenience fails to ensure that mental properties are physicalistically acceptable. The problem, I contend, is that while CCP may guard against supervenient mental properties being insufficiently grounded in their physical bases it fails to guard against supervenient mental properties being too deeply grounded in their physical bases. (shrink)
In his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant’s desiderata for a supreme principle of practical reasoning and morality require that the subjective conditions under which some action is thought of as justified via some maxim be sufficient for judging the same action as justified by any agent in those conditions. This describes the kind of universalization conditions now known as moral supervenience. But when he specifies his “formula of universal law” (FUL) Kant replaces this condition with a quite (...) different kind of universality: the judgment that some agent could rationally (i.e., without willing the frustration of his own valued ends) will his adoption of some maxim under the condition that this would cause all agents in his world to adopt it as well. Our wills typically lack this efficacy, so requiring that our wills conform to what would be rational for a hypothetical agent in this situation to will is a heteronomous requirement. Several intuitively wrong maxims pass Kant’s test but fail the test of supervenience, because they generate no contradiction in a world of universal compliance but do so in non-ideal worlds, demonstrating the inadequacy of the FUL and the logical superiority of moral supervenience. (shrink)
I put forward and defend the thesis (Th) that psychophysical supervenience (PS) in its full generality can be satisfactorily supported if and only if one is willing to make one or another of some substantial assumptions (the Assumptions) about the nature of mental and physical properties. I first deal with the “if” part of the claim by presenting and considering the Assumptions. I then argue for the inadequacy of suggestions of support for PS that do not require any of (...) the Assumptions. Finally, I show that as a result of (Th) a PS claim is made potentially stronger than what it would be if (Th) were false. (shrink)
The claim that the having of aesthetic properties supervenes on the having of non-aesthetic properties has been widely discussed and, in various ways, defended. In this paper, I will show that even if it is sometimes true that a supervenience relation holds between aesthetic properties and the 'subvenient' non-aesthetic ones, it is not the interesting relation in the neighbourhood. As we shall see, a richer, asymmetric and irreflexive relation is required, and I shall defend the claim that the more-and-more-popular (...) relation of grounding does a much better job than supervenience. (shrink)
Reductionists about dispositions must either say the natural properties are all dispositional or individuate properties hyperintensionally. Lewis stands in as an example of the sort of combination I think is incoherent: properties individuated by modal profile + categoricalism.
Ethical descriptivism is the view that all ethical properties are descriptive properties. Frank Jackson has proposed an argument for this view which begins with the premise that the ethical supervenes on the descriptive, any worlds that differ ethically must differ also descriptively. This paper observes that Jackson's argument has a curious structure, taking a linguistic detour between metaphysical starting and ending points, and raises some worries stemming from this. It then proposes an improved version of the argument, which avoids these (...) worries, and responds to some potential objections to this version of the argument. (shrink)
This paper develops co-ordinated multiple-domain supervenience relations to model determination and dependence relations between complex entities and their constituents by appealing to R-related pairs and by making use of associated isomorphisms. Supervenience relations are devised for order-sensitive and repetition-sensitive mereologies, for mereological systems that make room for many-many composition relations, as well as for hierarchical mereologies that incorporate compositional and hylomorphic structure. Finally, mappings are provided for theories that consider wholes to be prior to their parts.
Materialists who do not deny the existence of mental phenomena usually claim that the mental supervenes on the physical, i.e. that there cannot be a change in the mental life of a man without there being a change in the man's body. This modal claim is usually understood in terms of logical necessity. I argue that this is a mistake, resulting from assumptions inherited from logical empiricism, and that it should be understood in terms of synthetic necessity.
A property, F, is maximal i?, roughly, large parts of an F are not themselves Fs. Maximal properties are typically extrinsic, for their instantiation by x depends on what larger things x is part of. This makes trouble for a recent argument against microphysical superve- nience by Trenton Merricks. The argument assumes that conscious- ness is an intrinsic property, whereas consciousness is in fact maximal and extrinsic.
The aim of the paper is to discuss some recent variants of familiar puzzles concerning the relations of parts to wholes put forward by Trenton Merricks and Eric Olson. The argument is put forward that so long as the familiar distinction between 'loose and popular' and 'strict and philosophical' senses of identity claims is accepted the paradoxical conclusions at which Merricks and Olson arrive can be resisted. It is not denied that accepting the distinction between 'loose and popular' and 'strict (...) and philosophical' senses of identity claims is itself a departure from common-sense, but it is argued that it is the smallest such departure available to us. (shrink)
This paper explores the explanatory adequacy of lower-level theories when their higher-level counterparts are irreducible. If some state or entity described by a high-level theory supervenes upon and is realized in events, entities, etc. described by the relevant lower-level theory, does the latter fully explain the higher-level event even if the higher-level theory is irreducible? While the autonomy of the special sciences and the success of various eliminativist programs depends in large part on how we answer this question, neither the (...) affirmative or negative answer has been defended in detail. I argue, contra Putnam and others, that certain facts about causation and explanation show that such lower-level theories do explain. I also argue, however, that there may be important questions about counterfactuals and laws that such explanations cannot answer, thereby showing their partial inadequacy. I defend the latter claim against criticisms based on eliminativism about higher-level explanations and sketch a number of empirical conditions that lower-level explanations would have to meet to fully explain higher-level events. (shrink)