Functional reduction and mental causation

Acta Analytica 25 (4):435-446 (2010)
Abstract
Over the past few decades, Jaegwon Kim has argued that non-reductive physicalism is an inherently unstable position. In his view, the most serious problem is that non-reductive physicalism leads to type epiphenomenalism—the causal inefficacy of mental properties. Kim suggests that we can salvage mental causation by endorsing functional reduction. Given the fact that Kim’s goal in formulating functional reduction is to provide a robust account of mental causation it would be surprising if his position implies eliminativism about mental properties or leads to a view that is similar to one of the versions of non-reductive physicalism that he criticizes. We will show that depending on how certain key claims are interpreted, there are reasons for thinking functional reduction has these implications, in which case either Kim fails to provide a robust account of mental causation or there is reason to suspect that some of his criticisms of non-reductive physicalism are misguided
Keywords Mental causation  Functionalism  Jaegwon Kim  Non-Reductive physicalism  Reductionism  Donald Davidson
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