Goodbye, Humean Supervenience

Troy Cross

in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 7

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659081
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745201 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Metaphysics

Goodbye, Humean Supervenience

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Humean supervenience, at least in its familiar Lewisian guise, harbors an internal inconsistency. Suppose that: (1) fundamental properties are categorical; (2) fundamental properties endow objects with different dispositions in different possible worlds; and (3) properties are individuated by sets of their possible instances. This chapter demonstrates that if (2) is true, then every fundamental property necessarily correlates with a unique disposition. Therefore, by (3), every fundamental property is identical to a disposition, contrary to (1). This inconsistency can be resolved only by acknowledging the dispositionality of fundamental properties, abandoning realism about dispositions, or allowing for the hyperintensional individuation of properties.

Keywords: properties; dispositions; powers; categoricalism; Lewis; Shoemaker; humean supervenience

Chapter.  9109 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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