Supervenience arguments under relaxed assumptions

Philosophical Studies 155 (1):133 - 160 (2011)
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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

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Author Profiles

Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California
Johannes Schmitt
Universität Konstanz

Citations of this work

Moral supervenience.Anandi Hattiangadi - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):592-615.
The Supervenience Challenge to Non-Naturalism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2017 - In Tristram Colin McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 170-84.
Supervenience, Dependence, Disjunction.Lloyd Humberstone - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy:1.
Willing Belief.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - Brill.
Supervenience Arguments and Normative Non‐naturalism.Billy Dunaway - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):627-655.

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References found in this work

Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
A New Introduction to Modal Logic.M. J. Cresswell & G. E. Hughes - 1996 - New York: Routledge. Edited by M. J. Cresswell.

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