David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 9 (3):336-366 (2000)
The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be overdetermined by two hammers striking it at the same time. So how are we to reconcile these two views about the causal origins of human behaviour? One philosophical doctrine effects a nice reconciliation. Neuralism, or the token-identity theory, states that every particular mental event is a neurophysiological event and that every action is a physically specifiable bodily movement. If these identities hold, there is no problem of causal overdetermination: the apparently different causal pathways to the behaviour are actually one and the same pathway viewed from different perspectives. This attractively simple view is enjoying a recent revival in fortunes.
|Keywords||Behavior Causation Dualism Epistemology Mental Science|
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References found in this work BETA
Nelson Goodman (1983). Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. Harvard University Press.
Donald Davidson (1970). Mental Events. In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.), Experience and Theory. Humanities Press 79-101.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
John Dupré (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Karen Bennett (2003). Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It. Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
Lei Zhong (2015). Why the Counterfactualist Should Still Worry About Downward Causation. Erkenntnis 80 (1):159-171.
Jens Harbecke (2014). Counterfactual Causation and Mental Causation. Philosophia 42 (2):363-385.
Jens Harbecke (2011). Mind in a Humean World. Metaphysica 12 (2):213-229.
Sven Walter (2007). The Epistemological Approach to Mental Causation. Erkenntnis 67 (2):273 - 285.
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