Article

Supervenience

Jesper Kallestrup

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0117
Supervenience

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Supervenience is a topic-neutral, dependency relation that typically holds between facts or sets of properties. For instance, to say that aesthetic properties supervene on nonaesthetic properties means that the former depend on the latter. If one painting is beautiful but another is ugly, then there must be some difference between them in how the colors and shapes are arranged on the canvas. If the other painting is a perfect forgery, then it may lack an aesthetic property that the genuine painting has, but all that shows is that having been painted by a certain artist is part of the set of properties on which that aesthetic property supervenes. In general, a set of properties A supervenes on a set of properties B if and only if any two objects x and y that differ in their A-properties (= the supervenient properties in A) must also differ in their B-properties (= the subvenient properties in B). That is to say, A-properties supervene on B-properties if and only if x and y cannot differ in regard to their A-properties without also differing in regard to their B-properties. In slogan, no A-difference without a B-difference.

Article.  7073 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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