Armstrong's Conception of Supervenience

In Tim de Mey & Markku Keinänen (eds.), Problems From Armstrong. Acta Philosophica Fennica 84. pp. 51 (2008)
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In this article, I will focus on the notion of supervenience introduced and deployed by Armstrong. The aim is to settle the issue of whether it has any fruitful applications. My conclusions are negative. Armstrong gives to his notion of supervenience a major explanatory role of telling why one need not consider certain beings as a genuine ontic expansion, if one already assumes a certain meagre set of more basic entities. On closer inspection, however, Armstrong’s notion does not clarify such intuitions any further. The legitimate uses of the notion for the above purpose turn out to be redundant: the concepts of identity and partial identity can be employed instead.

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Markku Keinänen
Tampere University


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