Weak supervenience and materialism

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (June):697-709 (1988)
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Abstract

THIS ARTICLE ARGUES THAT WEAK SUPERVENIENCE IS\nSUFFICIENTLY STRONG TO ESTABLISH A REASONABLE AND PLAUSIBLE\nMATERIALISM. SUPERVENIENCE IS A RELATION BETWEEN FAMILIES\nOF PROPERTIES, SUCH THAT, ROUGHLY SPEAKING, FAMILY A\nSUPERVENES ON FAMILY B IF ANY OBJECTS WHICH ARE\nINDISCERNIBLE WITH RESPECT TO B ARE THEREBY INDISCERNIBLE\nWITH RESPECT TO A. WEAK SUPERVENIENCE IS SUPERVENIENCE\nRESTRICTED TO ONE POSSIBLE WORLD; STRONG SUPERVENIENCE IS A\n"NECESSARY" SUPERVENIENCE EXTENDING ACROSS SOME PRINCIPLED\nSET OF POSSIBLE WORLDS. THESE NOTIONS ARE MADE SOMEWHAT\nMORE RIGOROUS FOLLOWING JAEGWON KIM'S DEVELOPMENT OF THEM.\nKIM HAS ARGUED THAT ONLY STRONG SUPERVENIENCE CAN GROUND A\n'ROBUST' MATERIALISM, SO THE ARTICLE BEGINS BY CRITICIZING\nHIS ARGUMENTS FOR THIS POSITION. IT ARGUES THAT ANY FORM OF\nSTRONG SUPERVENIENCE IS IN FACT TOO STRONG TO CHARACTERIZE\nMATERIALISM AS IT IS NORMALLY CONCEIVED, FOR MATERIALISM IS\nNEITHER LOGICALLY NOR PHYSICALLY NECESSARY. BUT THE DAY IS\nSAVED AS WEAK SUPERVENIENCE CAN BE SHOWN TO BE JUST\nSUFFICIENTLY STRONG TO GROUND MATERIALISM. IN PARTICULAR,\nIT IS SHOWN THAT SUPERVENIENCE CAN SUPPORT COUNTERFACTUALS\nWITHOUT REQUIRING ANY NOTION OF "NECESSARY"\nSUPERVENIENCE

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William Seager
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

Supervenience as a philosophical concept.Jaegwon Kim - 1990 - Metaphilosophy 21 (1-2):1-27.
Nonreductive materialism and mental causation.Ausonio Marras - 1994 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):465-93.
Aristotle and supervenience.Victor Caston - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (S1):107-135.
Supervenience and physicalism.Andrew Bailey - 1998 - Synthese 117 (1):53-73.
Aristotle and Supervenience.Victor Caston - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (S1):107-135.

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