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EmergenceContemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science$
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Mark A. Bedau and Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026215

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.001.0001

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(p.411) 23 Supervenience

David Chalmers

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the controversial notion that the most fundamental facts about our universe are physical facts, and that all other facts are dependent on them. There exists a variety of dependence relations between high-level facts and low-level facts. The philosophical notion of supervenience provides a unifying framework within which these relations can be discussed, and formalizes the intuitive idea that one set of facts can fully determine another. In general, supervenience is a relation between two sets of properties: B-properties—intuitively, the high-level properties—and A-properties, which are the more basic low-level properties. The chapter will focus on the relevant A-properties, which are usually the physical properties or the fundamental properties that are invoked by a completed theory of physics.

Keywords:   supervenience, fundamental facts, physical facts, dependence relations, high-level facts, low-level facts, B-properties, A-properties

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