Mental causation without downward causation

Philosophical Review 115 (1):79-103 (2006)
Abstract
to counterintuitive results. Suppose a mental event, m1, causes another mental event, m2. Unless the mental and the physical are completely independent, there will be a physical event in your brain or your body or the physical world as a whole that underlies this event. The mental event occurs at least partly in virtue of the physical event’s occurring. And the same goes for m2 [2] and p2. Let’s not worry about what exactly “underlying” or “in virtue of” means here. Here’s the picture. m1 -----> m2 | | p1 -----> p2 The horizontal arrows represent causation, and the vertical lines represent underlying, whatever that may be. There’s some reason to think that the only way m1 can bring about m2 is by bringing about p2. You can’t convince someone of something through mental telepathy. You need to interact with the physical world, perhaps by saying something and so making some noise, or by pointing and getting them to turn their head and see. What goes for the case of two people goes for the case of one person as well. Superstition aside, there is no purely mental energy that floats free of the merely physical workings of the brain. If m1 brings about m2 by bringing about p2, then m1 brings about p2. This is downward causation. But wait. Doesn’t p1 bring about p2? Isn’t that what the bottom arrow represents? Maybe m1 and p1 work together to bring about p2. There are little holes in the physical causal structure that need to be filled by mental events. You don’t need a sweeping metaphysical thesis about the causal closure of the physical to find this implausible. Maybe p2 is overdetermined
Keywords Causation  Level  Mental Causation  Metaphysics  Relevance
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,084
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Lei Zhong (2011). Can Counterfactuals Solve the Exclusion Problem? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):129-147.

View all 7 citations

Similar books and articles
Wim de Muijnck (2004). Two Types of Mental Causation. Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):21-35.
David Robb (1997). The Properties of Mental Causation. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):178-94.
David Papineau (2013). Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible. In Sophie C. Gibb & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology. Oxford University Press. 126.
Lynne Rudder Baker (1993). Metaphysics and Mental Causation. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press. 75-96.
Jaegwon Kim (1992). The Nonreductivist's Trouble with Mental Causation. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
Tyler Burge (1993). Mind-Body Causation and Explanatory Practice. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

148 ( #6,007 of 1,101,880 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

20 ( #10,555 of 1,101,880 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.