Account for macro-level causation

Synthese 101 (2):129-156 (1994)
By a macro-level feature, I understand any feature that supervenes on, and is thus realized in, lower-level features. Recent discussions by Kim have suggested that such features cannot be causally relevant insofar as they are not classically reducible to lower-level features. This seems to render macro-level features causally irrelevant. I defend the causal relevance of some such features. Such features have been thought causally relevant in many examples that have underpinned philosophical work on causality. Additionally, in certain typical biological cases, we conceive of causally relevant features at various compatible levels of analysis. When elaborated, these points make a strong prima facie case for macro-level causal relevance. However, we might abandon both the philosophical guideposts and the corresponding explanatory practice in the special sciences were we convinced that no reflective philosophical account could provide for the causal relevance there supposed. I show that such drastic measures are not necessary, for we can make sense of macro-level causal relevance by drawing on Paul Humphreys' recent work in ways suggested by the concrete examples considered here.
Keywords Causation  Epistemology  Supervenience  Humphreys, P
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF01064014
 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: 20,860
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
David Lewis (1973). Causation. Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #149,696 of 1,906,972 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #468,378 of 1,906,972 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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