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Semantic Supervenience


Gasparri, Luca (2024). Semantic Supervenience. Inquiry, 67(1):429-453.

Abstract

It is common belief that semantic properties supervene on non-semantic properties: no two possible worlds can be non-semantic duplicates and fail to be semantic duplicates. The view enjoys somewhat of an orthodoxy status in contemporary philosophy of language and metaphysics, and is often assumed without argument. Yet, work by Stephen Kearns and Ofra Magidor has claimed that it is vulnerable to a variant of the classical arguments against the supervenience of the phenomenal on the physical. This paper does three things: it clarifies what semantic supervenience is about, it responds to the objections that have been leveled against it, and provides a new battery of arguments in its favor. I argue that the thesis of semantic supervenience is safe from classical anti-supervenience arguments, and show that its rejection generates unwelcome consequences. I conclude that there are substantial reasons to embrace the received wisdom: semantic properties supervene.

Abstract

It is common belief that semantic properties supervene on non-semantic properties: no two possible worlds can be non-semantic duplicates and fail to be semantic duplicates. The view enjoys somewhat of an orthodoxy status in contemporary philosophy of language and metaphysics, and is often assumed without argument. Yet, work by Stephen Kearns and Ofra Magidor has claimed that it is vulnerable to a variant of the classical arguments against the supervenience of the phenomenal on the physical. This paper does three things: it clarifies what semantic supervenience is about, it responds to the objections that have been leveled against it, and provides a new battery of arguments in its favor. I argue that the thesis of semantic supervenience is safe from classical anti-supervenience arguments, and show that its rejection generates unwelcome consequences. I conclude that there are substantial reasons to embrace the received wisdom: semantic properties supervene.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Health Sciences > Health Policy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health Policy, Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2 January 2024
Deposited On:17 Oct 2022 13:08
Last Modified:27 Apr 2024 01:40
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0020-174X
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/0020174x.2021.1930579
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)