Note on supervenience and definability

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The idea of a property’s being supervenient 011 a class of properties is familiar from much philosophical literature. We give this idea a linguistic turn by converting it into the idea of a predicate symbol’s being supervenient 011 a set of predicate symbols relative to a (first order) theory. What this means is that according to the theory, any individuals differing in respect to whether the given predicate applies to them also differ in respect to the application of at least one of the predicates in the set. The latter relationship we show turns out to coincide with something antecedently familiar from work on definability: with what is called the piecewise (or modelwise) definability, in the theory in question, of the given predicate in terms of those in the set.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalNotre Dame Journal of Formal Logic
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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