things hanging together

Month: February, 2012

Tentative remarks on supervenience and naturalising

I really fear that I might be alone in finding most appeals to supervenience in philosophical explanations less than helpful. I think Kim is right that it ‘merely states a pattern of property covariation between the mental and the physical,’ which is unfortunately conflated with an ontological relation of ‘dependence,’ and then treated as an explanation of the supervenient in terms of the subvenient. But covariation is not very interesting in itself, and appeal to a dependence relation is going to have to be cashed out in concrete terms, metaphysical, physical, or normative. That’s where the action is, and there’s no a priori reason to think that for any given dependent phenomenon its dependence relation will be identical in form or content to another of another kind. Its a further question as to whether or not a properly identified and characterized dependence relation will be reductive in the way that many naturalists seem to think desireable. But, if I’m close to right so far, its the details of explanation that matter, not whether or not they are “naturalistic.”

Some considerations on integrity

When teaching business ethics, the a frequent general question one gets is, “Well, what is integrity?” (That’s after “Well, what’s ethics?”) This is my brief attempt at setting out some of the ideas of one could use to deal with this sort of question.

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