Materialism and the mediated causation of behavior

Philosophical Studies 103 (2):165-75 (2001)
Are judgements and wishes reallybrain events (or brain states) which will be affirmedby a completed scientific account of how humanbehavior is caused? Materialists, other thaneliminativists, say Yes. But brain events do notcause muscle contractions, hence bodily movements,directly. They do so, if at all, by triggeringintermediate causes, viz. firings in motor nerves. Soit is crucial, this paper argues, whether they arecharacterized as biological events –performances of naturally-selected-for operations – orinstead as complex microphysical events. ``Acauses B, B causes C, so A causes C'' is defensible forbiological brain events, but fails for microphysical ones.
Keywords Behavior  Brain  Causation  Materialism  Metaphysics  Mind
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