David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ontos Verlag (2008)
In this paper I first try to clarify the essential features of tropes and then I use the resulting analysis to cope with the problem of mental causation. As to the first step, I argue that tropes, beside being essentially particular and abstract, are simple, where such a simplicity can be considered either from a phenomenal point of view or from a structural point of view. Once this feature is spelled out, the role tropes may play in solving the problem of mental causation is evaluated. It is argued that no solution based on the determinable/determinate relation is viable without begging the question as regards the individuating conditions of the related properties. Next, it is shown that Robb’s solution, much in the spirit of Davidson’s anomalous monism, entails abandoning the assumption that tropes are essentially simple, a consequence that I find not acceptable. My conclusion is that these entities are of no help in solving the problem of mental causation, and that a universalist approach should be preferred.
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