Kim’s supervenience/exclusion argument is designed to show that if nonreductive physicalists insist that mental properties are physically irreducible, their causal (and explanatory) status is pre-empted by the physical properties on which they supervene or depend. Numerous critics have responded to Kim’s argument by suggesting that the argument generalizes to all special science properties, and it is obviously absurd to deny the efficacy and legitimacy of all special science properties. After all, economic, sociological, anthropological and geological properties (to name just a few) all seem to be genuinely explanatory properties--or so the practitioners in these fields would maintain. Kim defends his position by pointing out that the argument does not necessarily have this implication since special science properties can be functionalized and thereby reduced to causally efficacious (and genuinely explanatory) microphysical properties. I argue that Kim’s reply ultimately affirms the worries of his critics because his approach leads to the elimination of special science properties from our ontology.
|Keywords:||Special Sciences, Supervenience/Exclusion, Reduction, Generalization Argument|
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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