Mental causation: A lesson from action theory
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Consider the following dilemma for non-reductive physicalism. If mental events cause physical events, they merely overdetermine their effects, given the causal closure of the physical. And if mental events cause only other mental events, they do not make the kind of difference we want them to. This dilemma can be avoided once the dichotomy between physical and mental events is dropped. Mental events make a real difference if they cause actions. But actions, I will argue, are neither mental nor physical events. Actions are realized by physical events, but they are not type-identical with them. This gives us non-reductive physicalism without downward causation. The tenability of such a view has been questioned. Jaegwon Kim, in particular, has argued that every version of non-reductive physicalism is committed to downward causation. But the nature action, I will argue, allows us to avoid this commitment.|
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