Supervenience, Autonomy, and Physicalism

Bernard Berofsky

in Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640010
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738197 | DOI:
 						Supervenience, Autonomy, and Physicalism

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Since not all laws reduce to basic physical laws, the consequence argument defender cannot retain the unalterability of laws thesis by restricting laws to basic physical laws and must then turn to a supervenience strategy to link the mental to the physical. This strategy rests on the thesis of strong physicalism, the view that all states supervene on the states of foundational physics. Strong physicalism, however, fails. But we should retain the thesis that psychological states supervene on physical states, basic or not, because it is a weak claim and its abandonment permits an unacceptable antiphysicalism. In order to do so, we address some problems of the supervenience thesis by widening the subvenience base. This move leads to the conclusion that psychological laws cannot supervene on physical laws and are, therefore, autonomous.

Keywords: consequence argument; unalterability; supervenience strategy; strong physicalism; foundational physics; subvenient base; autonomy

Chapter.  8076 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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