Supervenience, Dynamical Systems Theory, and Non-Reductive Physicalism

Yoshimi, Jeffrey
June 2012
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science;Jun2012, Vol. 63 Issue 2, p373
Academic Journal
It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamical systems theory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamical systems at different levels are related to one another. I then use this analysis to describe a graded approach to non-reductive physicalism, and to critically assess Davidson’s arguments for psychological anomaly. I also show how this approach can inform empirical research in cognitive science. 1 States and State Spaces2 The Supervenience Function and its Inverse3 Dynamical Systems Theory and Supervenience4 Inter-Level Relations and Non-Reductive Physicalism5 Davidson on Psychological Anomalism6 Symbolic Dynamics


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