Interdiscourse or supervenience relations: The primacy of the manifest image

Synthese 106 (2):253 - 297 (1996)
Amidst the progress being made in the various (sub-)disciplines of the behavioural and brain sciences a somewhat neglected subject is the problem of how everything fits into one world and, derivatively, how the relation between different levels of discourse should be understood and to what extent different levels, domains, approaches, or disciplines are autonomous or dependent. In this paper I critically review the most recent proposals to specify the nature of interdiscourse relations, focusing on the concept of supervenience. Ideally supervenience is a relation between different discourses which has all the advantages of reduction, but without its disadvantages. I apply the more abstract considerations to two concrete cases: schizophrenia and colour. Usually an interlevel or interdiscourse relation is seen as asymmetrical: the overlaying discourse depends on the underlying discourse (and not vice versa), where the out- or un-spoken assumption is that the ultimate underlying discourse is physical. Instead I argue that scientific categories referred to in interdiscourse relations are, ultimately, dependent on common sense categories and common sense normative criteria. It is the manifest categories and common sense ideas about what is reasonable and what is right that determine the relevant categorisations at the deeper, underlying levels. I suggest that the implications of this are not merely methodological or epistemological.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413703
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How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Science, Perception, and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars - 1963 - New York: Humanities Press.
Spreading the Word.Simon Blackburn - 1984 - Clarendon Press.

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