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  The aesthetic properties of objects, in philosophy supervene upon their physical properties. That is, if two objects have the same physical properties then they must have the same aesthetic properties. If two objects have exactly the same physical properties and one is beautiful, then the other object must also be beautiful.

Similarly, the ethical properties of actions supervene upon their non-ethical properties. That is, if two acts have exactly the same non-ethical properties, then they must have exactly the same moral properties. If two actions are exactly alike in all non-moral respects and one is wicked, then the other action must also be wicked.

Materialists often claim that mental properties supervene upon physical properties. They claim that if two creatures have exactly the same physical properties, then they must have exactly the same mental properties. If two creatures are exactly alike in all physical respects and one is in pain, then the other must also be in pain. In contrast, dualists hold that mental phenomena are non-physical, and therefore allow that there could be two creatures exactly alike physically, one of whom has a non-physical mind and is in pain, the other of which does not have a mind and so is not in pain. AJ

See also dualism; materialism.Further reading S. Blackburn, Spreading The Word; , C. McGinn, The Character of Mind.



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