Mental causation: Unnaturalized but not unnatural

If a woman in the audience at a presentation raises her hand, we would take this as evidence that she intends to ask a question. In normal circumstances, we would be right to say that she raises her hand because she intends to ask a question. We also expect that there could, in principle, be a causal explanation of her hand’s rising in purely physiological terms. Ordinarily, we take the existence and compatibility of both kinds of causes for granted. But this can come to seem strange. When we imagine tracking the physiological process that culminates in her hand’s rising, it is hard to find a purchase for her intention. The physiological process seems not to need assistance from her intention in order to get where it’s going, chugging along as it does according to principles that appear to have very little in common with ordinary psychological ones. The presumed self-sufficiency of physiological processes can, in a similar fashion, appear to muscle psychological states quite generally out of the causal picture
Keywords Causation  Mental  Metaphysics  Naturalism  Physicalism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2001.tb00092.x
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D. Gene Witmer (2003). Functionalism and Causal Exclusion. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (2):198-215.

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