Can dynamical systems explain mental causation?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Mind and Behavior 22 (3):311-334 (2001)
Dynamical systems promise to elucidate a notion of top–down causation without violating the causal closure of physical events. This approach is particularly useful for the problem of mental causation. Since dynamical systems seek out, appropriate, and replace physical substrata needed to continue their structural pattern, the system is autonomous with respect to its components, yet the components constitute closed causal chains. But how can systems have causal power over their substrates, if each component is sufficiently caused by other components? Suppose every causal relation requires background conditions, without which it is insufficient. The dynamical system is structured with a tendency to change background conditions for causal relations anytime needed substrates for the pattern's maintenance are missing; under the changed background conditions, alternative causal relations become sufficient to maintain the pattern. The system controls the background conditions under which one or another causal relation can subserve the system's overall pattern, while the components remain causally closed under their given background conditions
|Keywords||Causation Mental Metaphysics Neurophysiology Science|
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