Content and causation
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Allow me to recapitulate some territory that will be familiar to most readers. Here is how the problem of mental causation has typically been set up since shortly after the onset of non-reductive physicalism. It is now widely assumed that the realm of the physical is causally closed: every physical event has a complete physical cause, a cause that is sufficient for the event’s occurrence. This apparently leaves us with a limited number of options concerning psychological causation, none of which appear hugely attractive. Either: (a) the psychological is epiphenomenal and can have no causal impact on the physical, or (b) the psychological is identical with the physical, or (c) thoughts and actions are all over-determined, each one having two distinct sufficient causes. Option (b) subdivides into two further options. Either (b1) the psychological reduces to the physical and every psychological property is identical with some physical property, or (b2) token psychological events are identical with or constituted from token physical events but psychological properties are not identical with physical properties. (b1) is widely held to be inconsistent with the multiple realisation of the psychological by the physical. And (b2) appears to bring us back to the original problematic, with the properties as the locus of tension. If one event causes another it does so in virtue some of its properties and not others. If I throw a stone at a window and the window breaks, it is because the stone was hard and heavy that it broke the window and not, say, because it was grey and millions of years old. The properties in virtue of which an event has a particular effect are typically called the ‘causally efficacious properties of the cause with respect to the effect.’ Suppose, then that token neural event causes an action. We can ask ‘Does it do so in virtue of its physical properties or its psychological properties?’ and we are back to choosing between options (a) and (c) or returning to (b1)..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Manuel Liz (2001). New Physical Properties. In Tian Yu Cao (ed.), The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 10: Philosophy of Science. Philosophy Doc Ctr. 29-41.
Eric Marcus (2006). Events, Sortals, and the Mind-Body Problem. Synthese 150 (1):99-129.
Anthony B. Dardis (2002). A No Causal Rivalry Solution to the Problem of Mental Causation. Acta Analytica 17 (28):69-77.
Hong Yu Wong (2005). The Metaphysics of Emergence. Noûs 39 (4):658 - 678.
Janez Bregant (2004). Van Gulick's Solution of the Exclusion Problem Revisited. Acta Analytica 19 (33):83-94.
JeeLoo Liu (2001). A Nonreductionist's Solution to Kim's Explanatory Exclusion Problem. Manuscrito 24 (1).
Tyler Burge (1993). Mind-Body Causation and Explanatory Practice. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
David Robb (1997). The Properties of Mental Causation. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):178-94.
Gabriel M. A. Segal (2009). The Causal Inefficacy of Content. Mind and Language 24 (1):80-102.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2009-01-28
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?