Monday, May 02, 2005


Despite the lack of new FW material, I've managed to accomplish very little during reading week. I think I finally figured out what the subject of the first of my two seminar papers will be, but I haven't researched it yet much less started writing. (Okay here goes: I want to investigate the relationship between the two most widespread applications of supervenience theory in the literature, i.e. supervenience of the ethical on the non-ethical and supervenience of the psychological on the physical.)

On the bright side, I found out today that one of my papers is supposed to be five pages shorter than I thought was required; so it feels almost like I already knocked out five pages.


At 3:36 AM, Blogger jeremy said...

dear finnegan,

please excuse my ignorance. but re: earlier conversation, would the claim be that the ethical supervening on the non-ethical results in the a=b=c sort of reduction to ethical supervenes on the physical, or, as in thinking about it it now makes more sense to me, can ethical only supervene on the dynamic set [psych supervenes on phys], the ethical supervening on the psych's supervenience on the phys -- what would this mean? i guess that's really the question.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Finnegan said...

As you say at the end, this really is the question. The answer depends on the form of supervenience in play. Weak supervenience (i.e. non-cross-world supervenience) can avoid reduction (good), but might not be able to establish any sort of dependence relation (bad). Strong supervenience (i.e. necessary cross-world biconditional dependence) certainly gets dets determination, but because it entails necessary cross-world lawlike connections (which are pretty close to Nagelian bridge laws in reductionist philosophy of science), it might entail reduction as well.

So we need to refine the concepts of supervenience a bit more.

My sense, anyway, of the two options you lay out, is that we need a supervenience theory that can get to the latter result, because reduction of the ethical to the physical looks like elimination of the ethical.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Josh Eidelson said...

Monday I had planned to write four pages of a paper and instead I wrote two and found out it could be five pages shorter than I thought, so I counted that as seven...

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Nostradamus said...

You fellas make me chuckle. But then, the insane clown always laughs at the funeral and wears his death bright coat whether rain be pelting or damp.


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