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Re: Supervenience

From: Francis McCabe <fgm@fla.fujitsu.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 15:56:35 -0700
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
To: Paul Denning <pauld@mitre.org>
Message-Id: <656D2CBE-C92A-11D7-9F77-000393A3327C@fla.fujitsu.com>

As it happens I don't much like this definition!

It is very un-compelling to note that acceleration supervenes on  

I prefer the definition from Ron McClamrock in Existential Cognition.  
He talks about 'carving the joints' of nature, and gives two key  
properties for deciding where the joints lay:

Context Dependence:
	The full interpretation of a feature cannot be determined by examining  
the feature itself, but must be found by examining its context.
     This is my paraphrasing of his text. He asserts that this is the  
essence of semantics.
	For example, the full meaning of the add instruction in a computer can  
only be found if you know what it is being used for.

Multiple realizations:
	A feature in a system may have alternate but functionally equivalent  
realizations without affecting materially the predictive power of the  
    For example, in a car, you can replace the gas engine with a diesel  
one, or an electric one, without materially changing the nature of the  
car: it is still a vehicle for going from place to place.

One system supervenes over another when there is the possibility of  
multiple realizations of the `higher' system over the 'lower'; and when  
the features of the 'lower' system can take on differing roles  
depending on their context in the higher system.


On Thursday, August 7, 2003, at 03:12  PM, Paul Denning wrote:

> http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/supervenience.html
> I believe Frank used this term when describing that the SOM  
> "supervenes" upon the ROM [1].
> Also see Chapter 3 of [2].
> I'm not sure we need to add "supervenes" to the section on  
> Relationships.
> [1]  
> http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/~checkout~/2002/ws/arch/wsa/wd-wsa-arch- 
> review2.html#concepts
> [2] http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/chalmers93toward.html
> Paul
Received on Thursday, 7 August 2003 18:56:46 UTC

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