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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 9, 2006

Philosophical Anthropology

Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen
Pages 103-112

Dislodging Butterflies from the Supervenient

Applied to evaluative properties the supervenience thesis is customarily understood as expressing two intuitions: (i) the idea that there is some kind of dependence between the (supervenient) value of an object and some (or all) of the natural properties of the object; (ii) the idea that if you assert that x is valuable and if you agree that y is relevantly similar to x, with regard to natural properties, you must be prepared to assert that y too is valuable. It is argued that the influential account of supervenience by R. M. Hare is problematic in that it only expresses the latter but not the former intuition. Two solutions to this problem are outlined, one of which ought to be endorsable by a prescriptivist such as Hare.