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Psychophysical supervenience.

Hendel, Giovanna Enrica; (1999) Psychophysical supervenience. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D.), University College London. Green open access

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Abstract

I argue that, contrary to what is believed today by many philosophers, a supervenience claim can be quite strong (i.e. it can entail many further claims). To this extent, claims of psychophysical supervenience can be used to capture some possible positions with respect to the Mind-Body problem. In some cases, however, the strength of supervenience claims depends on adopting views which are not congenial to all. After considering the variety of forms of supervenience, and establishing what - in my opinion - are the important distinctions, I put forward and defend the thesis (Th) that psychophysical supervenience in its full generality can be satisfactorily supported if and only if one is willing to make any of some substantial assumptions (the 'Assumptions') about the nature of mental and physical properties. Given the nature of the Assumptions, (Th) adds potential strength to supervenience claims. I then argue for the idea of supervenience as a potentially strong thesis by showing that (a) psychophysical supervenience can yield reduction under certain understandings of 'reduction'; (b) a claim of psychophysical supervenience can, relatedly, correspond to a position which is inconsistent with some significant positions, such as that of Davidson and that of the Emergentist, in the debate on the Mind-Body problem; (c) some of the requirements which are commonly associated with the notion of dependence can be fulfilled on the basis of supervenience alone, and those which can't do not necessarily threaten the view that at least some forms of psychophysical supervenience can, when combined with further assumptions, entail physicalism. I conclude by bringing out some implications that the relationship between supervenience and the Assumptions can have for the use of supervenience in the philosophy of mind.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D.
Title: Psychophysical supervenience.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis Digitised by Proquest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124298
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