How causal is downward causation?

The purpose of this paper is to lay bare the major problems underlying the concept of downward causation as discussed within the perspective of the present interest for phenomena that are characterized by self-organization. In our Discussion of the literature, we have focussed on two questions: (1) What sorts of things are said to be, respectively, causing and caused within the context of downward causation? And (2) What is the meaning of 'causing' in downward causation? We have concluded that the concept of 'downward causation' is muddled with regard to the meaning of causation and fuzzy with regard to the nature of the causes and the effects. Moreover, we have concluded that 'causation' in respect of 'downward causation' is usually understood in terms of explanation and determination rather than in terms of causation in the sense of 'bringing about'. Thus, the term 'downward causation' is badly chosen
Keywords Aristotelian categories  causation  causal relata  downward causation  emergence  self-organization  formal causation
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DOI 10.2307/25171317
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References found in this work BETA
Stuart A. Kauffman (2000). Investigations. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Donald T. Campbell (1974). Downward Causation. In F. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (eds.), Studies in the Philosophy of Biology. University of California Press 179--186.

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Citations of this work BETA
Olivier Sartenaer (forthcoming). Sixteen Years Later: Making Sense of Emergence (Again). Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-25.
Olivier Sartenaer (2013). Neither Metaphysical Dichotomy nor Pure Identity. Clarifying the Emergentist Creed. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):365-373.

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