Supervenience-based formulations of physicalism

Noûs 39 (3):426-459 (2005)
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Abstract

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.

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Jessica M. Wilson
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
Physicalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Non-Reductive Realization and the Powers-Based Subset Strategy.Jessica Wilson - 2011 - The Monist (Issue on Powers) 94 (1):121-154.
What is Hume's Dictum, and Why Believe It?Jessica Wilson - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):595 - 637.

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