, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 305–319 | Cite as

Supervenience of Extrinsic Properties

Original article


The aim of this paper is to define a notion of supervenience which can adequately describe the systematic dependence of extrinsic as well as of intrinsic higher-level properties on base-level features. We argue that none of the standard notions of supervenience—the concepts of weak, strong and global supervenience—fulfil this function. The concept of regional supervenience, which is purported to improve on the standard conceptions, turns out to be problematic as well. As a new approach, we develop the notion of property-dependent supervenience. This notion is founded on a criterion of relevance adapting the supervenience base to the considered higher-level properties in a specific way, such that only features which are relevant to the instantiation of the higher-level properties under consideration are taken into account.


Actual World Mental Property Standard Notion Extrinsic Property Global Supervenience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank Terry Horgan, Thomas Müller and two anonymous referees for various valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We are also grateful to Jennifer Williams for linguistic corrections. Vera Hoffmann’s work on this paper was supported by the VolkswagenStiftung (Volkswagen Foundation) and by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Scholarship Foundation).


  1. Beckermann, A. (1992). Supervenience, emergence, and reduction. In A. Beckermann, H. Flohr, & J. Kim (Eds.), Emergence or reduction? Essays on the prospects of nonreductive physicalism (pp. 94–118). Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, K. (2004). Global supervenience and dependence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 68, 501–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Francescotti, R. M. (1999). How to define intrinsic properties. Noûs, 33, 590–609.Google Scholar
  4. Hofweber, T. (2005). Supervenience and object-dependent properties. Journal of Philosophy, 102, 5–32.Google Scholar
  5. Horgan, T. (1982). Supervenience and microphysics. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 63, 29–43.Google Scholar
  6. Horgan, T. (1993). From supervenience to superdupervenience: Meeting the demands of a material world. Mind, 102, 555–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kim, J. (1984). Concepts of supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 45, 153–176. (Quoted from Kim, J. (1993). Supervenience and mind (pp. 53–78). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.)Google Scholar
  8. Kim, J. (1987). “Strong” and “global” supervenience revisited. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 48, 315–326. (Quoted from Kim, J. (1993). Supervenience and mind (pp. 79–91). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.)Google Scholar
  9. Langton, R., & Lewis, D. (1998). Defining “intrinsic”. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 58, 333–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. McLaughlin, B. P. (1995). Varieties of supervenience. In E. E. Savellos & Ü. D. Yalçin (Eds.), Supervenience: New essays (pp. 16–59). Needham Heights: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  11. McLaughlin, B. P. (1997). Supervenience, vagueness, and determination. Philosophical Perspectives, 11, 209–230.Google Scholar
  12. Paull, R. C., & Sider, T. R. (1992). In defense of global supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 52, 833–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shagrir, O. (2002). Global supervenience, coincident entities and anti-individualism. Philosophical Studies, 109, 171–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sider, T. (1999). Global supervenience and identity across times and worlds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 49, 913–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stalnaker, R. C. (1996). Varieties of supervenience. Philosophical Perspectives, 10, 221–241.Google Scholar
  16. Vallentyne, P. (1997). Intrinsic properties defined. Philosophical Studies, 88, 209–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Philosophie der Universität BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Universität BochumBochumGermany

Personalised recommendations