By Nancey Murphy
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Extra resources for Anglo-american Postmodernity: Philosophical Perspectives On Science, Religion, And Ethics
4) (Downward causation) Where natural selection operates through life and death at a higher level of organisation, the laws of the higher-level selective system determine in part the distribution of lower-level events and substances. Description of an intermediate-level phenomenon is not completed by describing its possibility and implementation in lower-level terms. Its presence, prevalence or distribution (all needed for a complete explanation of biological phenomena) will often require reference to laws at a higher level of organisation as well.
23 A critical ingredient in Hare’s understanding is the recognition of the role of circumstances. This, I claim, will turn out to provide the requisite degree of ‘decoupling’ of the levels of analysis to avoid a confusion of supervenience with identity and thus to explain the failure in some instances of reducibility of the supervenient level to the subvenient level. Thus, I define supervenience as follows: for any two properties A and B, where B is a higher-level property than A, B supervenes on A if and only if something’s being A in circumstance c constitutes its being B.
McCarthy points out that when the sense of a sentence is made dependent on individual feelings or beliefs, it loses its ability to provide a basis for collaboration. “If shared inquiry is to be possible, there must be a common ground of objective meaning independent of the psychological reactions of the participants. ”10 Here we find another instance of the drive for universal agreement that lies behind foundationalism. ’ However, he understood the sense of a word in terms of the contribution it makes to the truth of sentences, and the truth of sentences, for Frege, depended only on its reference—so reference returned through the back door.
Anglo-american Postmodernity: Philosophical Perspectives On Science, Religion, And Ethics by Nancey Murphy