[hist-analytic] Supervenience and Neutral Monism

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Mon Jan 9 09:50:20 EST 2012

I've set aside temporarily my elaborating a new approach to neutral monism. However, there is an issue that ties in with supervenience, which I think is an overstuffed philosophical toy, so to speak. This issue relates to Putnam on James' "Automatic Sweetheart." As I read Putnam's approach to this in The Threefold Cord it occurred to me that Putnam is totally wrong about the sense-data theorists. In fact, he attributes to sense-datists an argument that no sense datist ever gave! He cites not a single sense-datist. He cites Austin who, he says, cites others. But a close look at Austin's slanted and amusingly arrogant attack on Ayer reveals that Putnam is wrong. So I asked myself: "Why would Putnam do this?" As I closely examined his other arguments a pattern emerged. 

That pattern is what I will call "the pattern of low level engineering." What Putnam does is take a few clever logical "intuition pumps" based on what I've called elsewhere "logical bling-blings." He asks himself, "What can I do with this bling bling?" He then re-engineers the philosophical problem so as to fit the bling bling. He re-writes the actual arguments he attacks with these bling blings. This engineering approach is one of the "main problems of philosophy." I found the same methodology in Kim. Interestingly, Goodman (who I will be treating of at some length) does NOT use this bling bling approach in the Structure of Appearance. It occurs to me that this approach is a real problem only the historian of analytical philosophy can fully explore. It goes some way towards explaining why the same Americans, particularly, those under the influence of Carnap have written the history of recent philosophy in the form of "love letters" in the Journals, often edited by their students. It's beginning to look like a scam. 

By the way, J.L., somewhere Grice (in a footnote as I recall, not sure) criticizes J. L. Austin's attack on Ayer; not substantially but as excessively polemical. Do you recall that passage? I've completed about fifty pages of exposition and criticism of Austin, who really gets everything messed up, technically. Moreover, I have about a hundred pages on supervenience theory, criticizing Kim in particular. One other thing. 

I've come up with a definition of 'weighted resemblance'. It will be useful in solving the problem of order in Goodman's approach (ordinal quasi-analysis). More later. 

Steve Bayne 

----- Original Message -----
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 12:21:12 PM 
Subject: Re: Supervenience and Neutral Monism 

In a message dated 10/11/2011 10:15:23 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
Baynesr at comcast.net writes about: 
"supervenience in a neutral monist ontology. If anyone knows of anything 
on this, please let me know (on or off list). If no one has discussed 
I will. I have some thoughts here related to "cross classification."" 

----You are perfectly right about the 'cut and paste'! I feel slightly 
guilty that I did that too with the previous link! But good you could 
something out of it! 

----- I have now, briefly, googled (did Socrates google? He did!) 
'supervenience' and 'neutral monism' and came up with a google.books link, 
are usually difficult to cut and paste. But here goes the reference for 
first page in google.books for that search ("supervenience", "neutral 
monism"), below. 

So perhaps you can expand on the cross-classification link, as it were. 



The human person in science and theology - Page 161 
Niels Henrik Gregersen, Willem B. Drees, Ulf Görman - 2000 - 218 pages - 

"As appears from the latter definition, holist supervenience theory 
the priority of the physical substructure." 

"In contrast to physicalism, however, holistic supervenience theory 
supports a neutral monism, that is, the doctrine ..." 

Physicalism and mental causation: the metaphysics of mind and action - 
Sven Walter, Heinz-Dieter Heckmann - 2003 - 362 pages - Preview 
"If all Neutral Monism took this form, the revision I have just made 
not be necessary. Another way of expressing the worry that NM strong 
supervenience does not provide a proper characterisation of Materialism 
the case of ..." 

Mental causation and the metaphysics of mind: a reader - Page 261 
Neil Campbell - 2003 - 

"The underlying reality may be found in ethereal forms, ... strong 
supervenience necessitates weak supervenience, but not conversely.... 
Cornman's "neutral monism" is rather." 

Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction - Page 130 
William Jaworski - 2011 - 
"Supervenience is compatible with a broad range of very different 
physicalism, dual-attribute theory, neutral monism, hylomorphism. This 
suggests that supervenience is not by itself sufficient to characterize a 
physicalist ..." 

Modality and mind - Page 205 
Stephen Thomas Biggs, The University of Arizona. Philosophy - 2007 - 
"Supervenience physicalism holds that the correlation results from mere 
metaphysical supervenience of phenomenal on physical ... Neutral monism 
merits consideration. Future work should review that position in this 
context. ..." 

Philosophie et culture: actes du XVIIe Congrès mondial de ...: Volume 2 
Venant Cauchy - 1988 - 
"Although the supervenience of main interest to us here is that of 
properties, there is a concept of ontological ... Note that strong 
necessitates weak supervenience, but not conversely.3 James Cornman's 
"neutral monism" is ..." 

The Blackwell guide to philosophy of mind - Page 20 
Stephen P. Stich, Ted A. Warfield - 2003 - 
"There are two possibilities: that the mental is conceptually reducible 
or supervenes on something non-physical. While the latter position is an 
option, it has not been occupied. However, neutral monism, the view that 
mental and ..." 

Evolution and creativity: a new dialogue between faith and ... 
South African Science and Religion Forum. Seminar, C. W. Du Toit, 
Institute for Theology and Religion - 
"In contrast to physicalism, however, holistic supervenience theory 
supports a neutral monism, that is, the doctrine that all of reality 
forms a unity which can neither be described nor be sufficiently explained 
either ..." 

Mind that abides: panpsychism in the new millennium 
David Skrbina - 2009 
"One is idealism – matter reducing to, or supervenient on, mind. Though a 
decidedly minority view these days, ... We could adopt a neutral monism, 
along with its accompanying burdens of explaining how both the mental and 
physical ..." 

The Routledge Dictionary of Philosophy - Page 264 
Michael Proudfoot, Alan Robert Lacey - 2010 - 
"Neutral monism is a particular doctrine claiming that physical and mental 

phenomena can both be analysed in terms of a ... See also SUPERVENIENCE, 
DUALISM . D. Davidson, 'Mental events', in L. Foster and JW Swanson 
Experience and ..." 

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