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Abstract: Two versions of global supervenience have recently been distinguished from each other. I introduce a third version, which is more likely what people had in mind all along. However, I argue that one of the three versions is equivalent to strong supervenience in every sense that matters, and that neither of the other two versions counts as a genuine determination relation. I conclude that global supervenience has little metaphysically distinctive value
Abstract: The discussion of supervenience is replete with the use of in?nitary logical operations. For instance, one may often ?nd a supervenient property that corresponds to an in?nite collection of supervenience-base properties, and then ask about the in?nite disjunction of all those base properties. This is crucial to a well-known argument of Kim (1984) that supervenience comes nearer to reduction than many non-reductive physicalists suppose. It also appears in recent discussions such as Jackson (1998)
Abstract: What Robots Can and Can't Be (hereinafter Robots) is, as Selmer Bringsjord says "intended to be a collection of formal-arguments-that-border-on-proofs for the proposition that in all worlds, at all times, machines can't be minds" (Bringsjord, forthcoming). In his (1994) "Précis of What Robots Can and Can't Be" Bringsjord styles certain of these arguments as proceeding "repeatedly . . . through instantiations of" the "simple schema"
Abstract: I argue that the semantic thesis of direct reference and the meta- physical thesis of the supervenience of the non-physical on the physical cannot both be true. The argument ﬁrst develops a necessary condition for supervenience, a so-called conditional locality requirement, which is then shown to be incompatible with some physical object having object dependent properties, which in turn is required for the thesis of direct reference to be true. We apply this argument to formulate a new argument against the claim that a thisness is analyzable in purely general terms, one that does not rely on complete symmetry nor the falsity of the identity of indiscernibles. I outline a strategy at the end how the conclusion could be avoided, at a price
Abstract: “Supervenience”, though a philosophers’ notion, has a venerable history. It was used by Leibniz to say that relations are nothing over and above the intrinsic properties of their relata, by Sidgwick to say that moral characteristics covary with non-moral ones, by Moore to say that the former are grounded in the latter, by Hare to say that they stand in some relation of strict implication and by Davidson (1970: 214) to say that “mental characteristics are in some sense dependent, or supervenient, on physical characteristics” (cf. Kim 1990: 136–138). Here is what Robert Stal- naker (1996) says about the “intuitive ideas that motivate the attempts to articulate concepts of supervenience”:
To say that the A-properties or facts are supervenient on the B-properties or facts is to say that the A-facts are, in a sense, redundant, since they are already implicitly speciﬁed when one has speciﬁed all the B-facts. A-facts are not fact ‘over and above’ the B-facts, not something ‘separate’. To state an A-fact, or ascribe an A-property, is to describe the same reality in a diﬀerent way, at a diﬀerent level of abstraction, by carving the same world at diﬀerent joints. (Stalnaker 1996: 87)
Kim (1990: 140) identiﬁes three key features of our concept of supervenience: covariance, depend- ency and nonreducibility (where “non-reducibility” means that the supervenience of A-features on B-features is consistent with the former not being reducible to the latter).1 Explanation, sometimes required for reducibility, is absent : supervenience claims state that some patterns of property covariation hold, without explaining why they hold.2
Abstract: Computers have far to go to match human strengths, and our estimates will depend on analogy and extrapolation. Fortunately, these are grounded in the first bit of the journey, now behind us. Thirty years of computer vision reveals that 1 MIPS can extract simple features from real-time imagery--tracking a white line or a white spot on a mottled background. 10 MIPS can follow complex gray-scale patches--as smart bombs, cruise missiles and early self-driving vans attest. 100 MIPS can follow moderately unpredictable features like roads--as recent long NAVLAB trips demonstrate. 1,000 MIPS will be adequate for coarse-grained three-dimensional spatial awareness--illustrated by several mid-resolution stereoscopic vision programs, including my own. 10,000 MIPS can find three-dimensional objects in clutter--suggested by several "bin-picking" and high-resolution stereo-vision demonstrations, which accomplish the task in an hour or so at 10 MIPS. The data fades there--research careers are too short, and computer memories too small, for significantly more elaborate experiments
Abstract: What is the relation between weak and strong supervenience? Kim claims that weak supervenience is weaker, that it fails to entail strong supervenience. But he mistakenly infers this in virtue of logical form. In fact, one line of reasoning suggests weak supervenience _does_ entail strong. Following this line, we see that weak and strong supervenience
Abstract: Weak and global supervenience are equivalent to strong supervenience for intrinsic properties. Moreover, weak and global supervenience relations are always mere parts of a more general underlying strong supervenience relation. Most appeals to global supervenience, though, involve spatio-temporally relational properties; but here too, global and strong supervenience are equivalent. _Functionally_ we can characterize merely weak and global supervenience as follows: for A to supervene on B requires that at all worlds an individual’s A properties be a function of its B properties, where this function varies from world to world. But what are the
Abstract: Kim argues that weak and global supervenience are too weak to guarantee any sort of dependency. Of the three original forms of supervenience, strong, weak, and global, each commonly wielded across all branches of philosophy, two are thus cast aside as uninteresting or useless. His arguments, however, fail to appreciate the strength of weak and global supervenience. I investigate what weak and global supervenience relations are functionally and how they relate to strong supervenience. For a large class of properties, weak and global supervenience are equivalent to strong supervenience. I then offer a series of arguments showing that it is precisely because of their strength, not their weakness, that both weak and global supervenience are useless in characterizing any dependencies of interest to philosophers
Abstract: After some preliminary clarifications, arguments for the supposed asymmetry of supervenience and determination, such as they are, are shown to be unsound. An argument against the supposed asymmetry is then constructed and defended against objections. This is followed by explanations of why the intuition of asymmetry is nonetheless so entrenched, and of how the asymmetric ontological priority of the physical over the non-physical can be understood without the supposed asymmetry of supervenience and determination
Abstract: Abstract. Alleged counter-examples based on conceptual thought-experiments, including those involving sense or content, have no force against physicalist supervenience theses properly construed. This is largely because of their epistemological status and their modal status. Still, there are empirical examples that do contradict Kim-style theses, due to the latter's individualism. By contrast, non-individualist supervenience, such as "global" supervenience, remains unscathed, a possibility overlooked by Lynne Baker, as is clear from a physicalist account of sense in the case of non-human biological adaptations that are for producing things about affairs in the world