Supervenience is a fundamental concept for non-reductive physicalist theories of the mind (theories which hold that the physical level is the fundamental level of understanding, but which also hold that the mind cannot be reduced to the brain or any other physical level). Most computational theories of the mind belong to this category. In this paper I will outline two different kinds of supervenience relationships and the problems they face in explaining the mind-body problem. In addition, I will argue that the more plausible version of supervenience is in conflict with multiple realizability (the thesis that the mind can be instantiated by things other than the brain), which is the philosophical basis of all Artificial Intelligence (AI) efforts. I then suggest a possible way of saving both the supervenience relationship and multiple realizability, taking inspiration from the Indian philosophical concept of autoreflexivity of awareness (svasamvedana).

Additional Metadata
Keywords supervenience, philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology
Publisher Department of Cognitive Science
Series Cognitive Science Technical Report Series
Chandrasekharan, Sanjay. (2001). Varieties of Supervenience. Technical Report 2001-03. Cognitive Science Technical Report Series. Department of Cognitive Science.