David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 43 (2):181-202 (2000)
Physicalism ? or roughly the view that the stuff that physics talks about is all the stuff there is ? has had a popular press in philosophical circles during the twentieth century. And yet, at the same time, it has become quite fashionable lately to believe that the mind matters in this world after all and that psychology is an autonomous science irreducible to physics. However, if (true, downward) mental causation implies non-reducibility and Physicalism implies the converse, it is hard to see how these two views could be compatible. This paper reviews some classical arguments purportedly showing how the autonomy of the special sciences can be upheld without violating the laws of physics or the principle that physics constitutes a complete and closed system. These arguments are presented in order of increasing strength, indicating how the more popular arguments in fact fall short of establishing anti-reductionism of the intended kind. New arguments are added which claim to demonstrate quite effectively how downward causation is possible compatibly with the reign of physics. The paper begins with a section which distinguishes various kinds of reductionism
|Keywords||Causation Physicalism Psychology Reduction Science|
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Citations of this work BETA
William S. Robinson (2005). Zooming in on Downward Causation. Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):117-136.
John Mingers (2011). The Contribution of Systemic Thought to Critical Realism. Journal of Critical Realism 10 (3):303-330.
Philip Clayton (2004). Natural Law and Divine Action: The Search for an Expanded Theory of Causation. Zygon 39 (3):615-636.
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