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The conceivability of mechanism

Philosophical Review 77 (January):45-72 (1968)

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  1. Exclusion Endures: How Compatibilism Allows Dualists to Bypass the Causal Closure Argument.Christopher Devlin Brown - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):587-594.
    In ‘The Ockhamization of the event sources of sound’, Casati et al. argue that ‘ockhamizing’ Casey O’Callaghan’s account of sounds as proper parts of their event sources yields their preferred view: that sounds are identical with their event sources. This article argues that the considerations Casati et al. marshal in favour of their view are actually stronger considerations in favour of a quite different view: a variant on the Lockean conception of sounds as ‘sensible qualities’ that treats sounds as audible (...)
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  • Cause and Essence.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Synthese 93 (3):403 - 449.
    Essence and causation are fundamental in metaphysics, but little is said about their relations. Some essential properties are of course causal, as it is essential to footprints to have been caused by feet. But I am interested less in causation's role in essence than the reverse: the bearing a thing's essence has on its causal powers. That essencemight make a causal contribution is hinted already by the counterfactual element in causation; and the hint is confirmed by the explanation essence offers (...)
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  • Malcolm on Explanations and Causes.Gary Iseminger - 1969 - Philosophical Studies 20 (October):73-77.
  • Once More Unto The Breach: Strawson's Anti-Sceptical View.Marco Antonio Franciotti - 2009 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 13 (2):137-152.
    In this article, I am intent on rehabilitating Strawson's overall anti-sceptical strategy. First, I focus on his earlier attempt, which ignited the debate about the adequacy of transcendental arguments against the sceptic. I present Stroud's main reservation that Strawson's viewpoint is unworkable because it does not take into consideration the view of the external world upon which the sceptic is based in order to challenge our knowledge claims. I then focus on Strawson's later attempt, which is based upon a Humean-like (...)
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  • Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.
    I will argue that close attention to deciding casts doubt on the simple view and the single phenomena view of intentional action. That is my thesis. My aim is much broader—to improve our understanding of deciding and of the bearing of the phenomenon of deciding on free will and moral responsibility.
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  • Two Solutions to the Neural Discernment Problem.Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    Interactionists hold that minds are non-physical objects that interact with brains. The neural discernment problem for interactionism is that of explaining how non-physical minds produce behavior and cognition by exercising different causal powers over physiologically similar neurons. This paper sharpens the neural discernment problem and proposes two interactionist models of mind-brain interaction that solve it. One model avoids overdetermination while the other respects the causal closure of the physical domain.
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  • Causal After All : A Model of Mental Causation for Dualists.Bram Vaassen - 2019 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete. -/- In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. (...)
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  • Horizontal and Vertical Determination of Mental and Neural States.Jens Harbecke & Harald Atmanspacher - 2012 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 32 (3):161-179.
    Mental and neural states are related to one another by vertical interlevel relations and by horizontal intralevel relations. For particular choices of such relations, problems arise if causal efficacy is ascribed to mental states. In a series of influential papers and books, Kim has presented his much discussed “supervenience argument,” which ultimately amounts to the dilemma that mental states either are causally inefficacious or they hold the threat of overdetermining neural states. Forced by this disjunction, Kim votes in favor of (...)
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  • Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.
    According to proponents of the causal exclusion problem, there cannot be a sufficient physical cause and a distinct mental cause of the same piece of behaviour. Increasingly, the causal exclusion problem is circumvented via this compatibilist reasoning: a sufficient physical cause of the behavioural effect necessitates the mental cause of the behavioural effect, so the effect has a sufficient physical cause and a mental cause as well. In this paper, I argue that this compatibilist reply fails to resolve the causal (...)
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  • The Super-Overdetermination Problem.John Donaldson - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    I examine the debate between reductive and non-reductive physicalists, and conclude that if we are to be physicalists, then we should be reductive physicalists. I assess how both reductionists and non-reductionists try to solve the mind-body problem and the problem of mental causation. I focus on the problem of mental causation as it is supposed to be faced by non-reductionism: the so-called overdetermination problem. I argue that the traditional articulation of that problem is significantly flawed, and I show how to (...)
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  • Causation, Exclusion, and the Special Sciences.Panu Raatikainen - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):349-363.
    The issue of downward causation (and mental causation in particular), and the exclusion problem is discussed by taking into account some recent advances in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. It is argued that from this viewpoint, a higher-level (e.g., mental) state can sometimes truly be causally relevant, and moreover, that the underlying physical state which realizes it may fail to be such.
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  • The Supervenience Argument.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & Ausonio Marras - 2008 - In S. Gozzano & F. Oralia (eds.), Universals, Tropes and the Philosophy of Mind. Ontos Verlag. pp. 101-132.
  • Can The Mental Be Causally Efficacious?Panu Raatikainen - 2013 - In K. Talmont-Kaminski M. Milkowski (ed.), Regarding the Mind, Naturally: Naturalist Approaches to the Sciences of the Mental. Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Mentaalinen kausaatio.Panu Raatikainen - 2007 - In Syy. Helsinki: Gaudeamus.
    Ajatus mentaalisesta kausaatiosta – siitä että mentaaliset ominaisuudet, tilat tai tapahtumat aiheuttavat fysikaalisia vaikutuksia, esimerkiksi ruumiinliikkeitä ja käyttäytymistä – on keskeinen osa niin arkiajattelua kuin tieteellistä psykologiaakin. Itsessään se tuntuu lähes latteudelta. Tarkemmassa filosofisessa tarkastelussa se kuitenkin synnyttää huomattavia filosofisia ongelmia (ks. esim. Block 1990; Heal & Mele 1993; Crane 1995).
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  • Broader Contexts of Non-Domination: Pettit and Hegel on Freedom and Recognition.Arto Laitinen - 2015 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 18 (4):390-406.
    This study compares Philip Pettit’s account of freedom to Hegelian accounts. Both share the key insight that characterizes the tradition of republicanism from the Ancients to Rousseau: to be subordinated to the will of particular others is to be unfree. They both also hold that relations to others, relations of recognition, are in various ways directly constitutive of freedom, and in different ways enabling conditions of freedom. The republican ideal of non-domination can thus be fruitfully understood in light of the (...)
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  • Causality in the McDowellian World.Alan Charles McKay - 2014 - Dissertation, Queen's University Belfast
    The thesis explores and suggests a solution to a problem that I identify in John McDowell’s and Lynne Rudder Baker’s approaches to mental and intention-dependent (ID) causation in the physical world. I begin (chapter 1) with a brief discussion of McDowell’s non-reductive and anti-scientistic account of mind and world, which I believe offers, through its vision of the unbounded conceptual and the world as within the space of reasons, to liberate and renew philosophy. However, I find an inconsistency in McDowell’s (...)
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  • The Argument From Reason, and Mental Causal Drainage: A Reply to van Inwagen.Brandon Rickabaugh & Todd Buras - 2017 - Philosophia Christi 19 (2):381-399.
    According to Peter van Inwagen, C. S. Lewis failed in his attempt to undermine naturalism with his Argument from Reason. According to van Inwagen, Lewis provides no justification for his central premise, that naturalism is inconsistent with holding beliefs for reasons. What is worse, van Inwagen argues that the main premise in Lewis's argument from reason is false. We argue that it is not false. The defender of Lewis's argument can make use of the problem of mental causal drainage, a (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality De Re.Seth Yalcin - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:475-527.
    Focusing on cases which involve binding into epistemic modals with definite descriptions and quantifiers, I raise some new problems for standard approaches to all of these expressions. The difficulties are resolved in a semantic framework that is dynamic in character. I close with a new class of problems about de re readings within the scope of modals.
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  • An Unstable Eliminativism.John W. Carroll & William R. Carter - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):1–17.
    In his book Objects and Persons, Trenton Merricks has reoriented and fine-tuned an argument from the philosophy of mind to support a selective eliminativism about macroscopic objects.1 The argument turns on a rejection of systematic causal overdetermination and the conviction that microscopic things do the causal work that is attributed to a great many (though not all) macroscopic things. We will argue that Merricks’ argument fails to establish his selective eliminativism.
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  • The Reductionist and Compatibilist Argument of Epicurus' On Nature, Book 25.Tim O'Keefe - 2002 - Phronesis 47 (2):153-186.
    Epicurus' "On Nature" 25 is the key text for anti-reductionist interpretations of Epicurus' philosophy of mind. In it, Epicurus is trying to argue against those, like Democritus, who say that everything occurs 'of necessity,' and in the course of this argument, he says many things that appear to conflict with an Identity Theory of Mind and with causal determinism. In this paper, I engage in a close reading of this text in order to show that it does not contain any (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation.Cory Wright & William Bechtel - 2007 - In Paul Thagard (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Elsevier.
    As much as assumptions about mechanisms and mechanistic explanation have deeply affected psychology, they have received disproportionately little analysis in philosophy. After a historical survey of the influences of mechanistic approaches to explanation of psychological phenomena, we specify the nature of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation. Contrary to some treatments of mechanistic explanation, we maintain that explanation is an epistemic activity that involves representing and reasoning about mechanisms. We discuss the manner in which mechanistic approaches serve to bridge levels rather than (...)
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  • Grounding, Mental Causation, and Overdetermination.Michael J. Clark & Nathan Wildman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3723-3733.
    Recently, Kroedel and Schulz have argued that the exclusion problem—which states that certain forms of non-reductive physicalism about the mental are committed to systematic and objectionable causal overdetermination—can be solved by appealing to grounding. Specifically, they defend a principle that links the causal relations of grounded mental events to those of grounding physical events, arguing that this renders mental–physical causal overdetermination unproblematic. Here, we contest Kroedel and Schulz’s result. We argue that their causal-grounding principle is undermotivated, if not outright false. (...)
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  • Kim on Causation and Mental Causation.Panu Raatikainen - 2018 - E-Logos Electronic Journal for Philosophy 25 (2):22–47.
    Jaegwon Kim’s views on mental causation and the exclusion argument are evaluated systematically. Particular attention is paid to different theories of causation. It is argued that the exclusion argument and its premises do not cohere well with any systematic view of causation.
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  • Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It.Karen Bennett - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
    The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...)
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  • Traditionalism and Parallel Distributed Processing as Qualitatively Distinct Models of the Mind.Mary M. Litch - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    My main concern in this work is answering the question: does parallel distributed processing as a model of the mind offer a genuine alternative to traditionalism? There has been vigorous debate within the last eight years on the subject of the relative merits of the one model over the other; however, a detailed examination of the nature of their respective differences has not been attempted. ;The mental realm is that realm in which causal interaction is governed by laws quantifying over (...)
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  • A Priori Arguments for Reductionism.Jennifer Rea Susse - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Recently, several philosophers have argued that nonreductive physicalism is a false, unstable, and incoherent position. I argue that the position these critics are attacking is a straw one. To help explain why let us distinguish three issues about which nonreductive physicalists might plausibly be thought to have an opinion: ontological considerations about the types of things that exist at a world, issues involving the existence and nature of any dependency relationships between the types of things that exist at a world, (...)
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  • Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):57-72.
    ABSTRACTWe have no reason to believe that reasons do not exist. Contra Bart Streumer’s recent proposal, this has nothing to do with our incapacity to believe this error theory. Rather, it is because if we know that if a proposition is true, we have no reason to believe it, then we have no reason to believe this proposition. From a different angle: if we know that we have at best misleading reasons to believe a proposition, then we have no reason (...)
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  • Explanation and Mental Causation.Jennifer Lackey - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):375-393.
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  • John King-Farlow and Roger A. Shiner : New Essays in the Philosophy of Mind.Myles Brand - 1976 - Dialogue 15 (4):679-685.
  • On the Causal Completeness of Physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
    According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...)
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  • How to Be Realistic About Folk Psychology.George Graham & Terence Horgan - 1988 - Philosophical Psychology 1 (1):69-81.
    Folk psychological realism is the view that folk psychology is true and that people really do have propositional attitudes, whereas anti-realism is the view that folk psychology is false and people really do not have propositional attitudes. We argue that anti-realism is not worthy of acceptance and that realism is eminently worthy of acceptance. However, it is plainly epistemically possible to favor either of two forms of folk realism: scientific or non-scientific. We argue that non-scientific realism, while perhaps unpopular among (...)
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  • Realization and Causal Powers.Umut Baysan - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    In this thesis, I argue that physicalism should be understood to be the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. In doing this, I explore what the realization relation might be. Since realization is the relation that should help us formulate physicalism, I suggest that the theoretical role of realization consists in explaining some of the things that physicalists wish to explain. These are: How are mental properties metaphysically necessitated by physical properties? How are mental properties causally efficacious? (...)
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  • What Grounds What Grounds What.Michael J. Clark - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):38-59.
    If there are facts about what grounds what, are there any grounding relations between them? This paper suggests so, arguing that transitivity and amalgamation principles in the logic of grounding yield facts of grounding that are grounded by others. I develop and defend this view and note that combining it with extant accounts of iterated grounding commits us to seemingly problematic instances of ground-theoretic overdetermination. Taking the superinternality thesis as a case study, I discuss how defenders of this thesis should (...)
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  • Dualist and Agent-Causal Theories.Timothy O'Connor - 2001 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    I Introduction This essay will canvass recent philosophical accounts of human agency that deploy a notion of 'self' (or 'agent') causation. Some of these accounts try to explicate this notion, whereas others only hint at its nature by way of contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. In these latter theories, the authors' main argumentative burden is that the apparent fundamental differences between personal and impersonal causal activity strongly suggest mind-body dualism. I begin by noting two distinct, yet (...)
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  • The Emergence of Group Cognition.Georg Theiner & Tim O'Connor - 2010 - In A. Corradini & T. O'Connor (eds.), Emergence in Science and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 6--78.
    What drives much of the current philosophical interest in the idea of group cognition is its appeal to the manifestation of psychological properties—understood broadly to include states, processes, and dispositions—that are in some important yet elusive sense emergent with respect to the minds of individual group members. Our goal in this paper is to address a set of related, conditional questions: If human mentality is real yet emergent in a modest metaphysical sense only, then: (i) What would it mean for (...)
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  • The Collectivity of Blaming.David Botting - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):1-39.
    In this paper I want to argue that acts of blame are performed by collectives, and not by any collective but only by collectives that satisfy certain conditions – broadly those that, by collectivizing reason, can be held to be autonomous subjects to which it makes sense to attribute attitudes, including participant reactive attitudes such as resentment. The actors involved must also be related to the collective in particular ways in order to hold and be held responsible, but they need (...)
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  • Actions, Laws, and Scientific Psychology.John Macnamara, Vishwas P. Govitrikar & Brian Doan - 1988 - Cognition 29 (1):1-27.
  • Mental Causation.Karen Bennett - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
    Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
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  • Dualist Mental Causation and the Exclusion Problem.Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):357-375.
    The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by its mental (...)
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  • Mental Causation From the Top-Down.William Jaworski - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (2):277-299.
    Dual-attribute theories are alleged to face a problem with mental causation which commits them to either epiphenomenalism or overdetermination – neither of which is attractive. The problem, however, is predicated on assumptions about psychophysical relations that dual-attribute theorists are not obliged to accept. I explore one way they can solve the problem by rejecting those assumptions.
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  • Crimson Brain, Red Mind: Yablo on Mental Causation.Edward T. Cox - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (1):77–99.
    Stephen Yablo offers a solution to the problem of mental causation by claiming that the physical is a determinate of the mental's determinable, and therefore the mental and physical do not compete for causal relevance. I present Yablo's solution and argue that the mental‐physical relation cannot meet three necessary conditions for determination. That relation fails to meet the requirements that determinates of the same determinable be incompatible and that no property can be a determinate of more than one determinable. Further, (...)
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  • Kim's Supervenience Argument and the Nature of Total Realizers.Douglas Keaton - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):243-259.
    Abstract: I offer a novel objection to Jaegwon Kim's Supervenience Argument. I argue that the Supervenience Argument relies upon an untenable conception of the base physical properties upon which mental properties are supposed to supervene: the base properties are required to be both ordinary physical/causal properties and also unconditionally sufficient for the properties that they subvene. But these requirements are mutually exclusive; as a result, at least two premises in the Supervenience Argument are false. I argue that this has disruptive (...)
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  • Traps and Gaps in Action Explanation: Theoretical Problems of a Psychology of Human Action.Werner Greve - 2001 - Psychological Review 108 (2):435-451.
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  • Explanatory Exclusion and Causal Exclusion.Sophie C. Gibb - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (2):205-221.
    Given Kim’s principle of explanatory exclusion (EE), it follows that in addition to the problem of mental causation, dualism faces a problem of mental explanation. However, the plausibility of EE rests upon the acceptance of a further principle concerning the individuation of explanation (EI). The two methods of defending EI—either by combining an internal account of the individuation of explanation with a semantical account of properties or by accepting an external account of the individuation of explanation—are both metaphysically implausible. This (...)
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  • Unconscious Vision and the Platitudes of Folk Psychology.Cara Spencer - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):309 – 327.
    Since we explain behavior by ascribing intentional states to the agent, many philosophers have assumed that some guiding principle of folk psychology like [Intentional States and Actions] must be true. [Intentional States and Actions]: If A and B are different actions, then the agents performing them must differ in their intentional states at the time they are performed. Recent results in the physiology of vision present a prima facie problem for this principle. These results show that some visual information that (...)
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  • Willusionism, Epiphenomenalism, and the Feeling of Conscious Will.Sven Walter - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2215-2238.
    While epiphenomenalism—i.e., the claim that the mental is a causally otiose byproduct of physical processes that does not itself cause anything—is hardly ever mentioned in philosophical discussions of free will, it has recently come to play a crucial role in the scientific attack on free will led by neuroscientists and psychologists. This paper is concerned with the connection between epiphenomenalism and the claim that free will is an illusion, in particular with the connection between epiphenomenalism and willusionism, i.e., with the (...)
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  • Conceptual Connection and Causal Relation.Max Deutscher - 1976 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):3 – 13.
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  • Folk Psychology as Theory or Practice? The Case for Eliminative Materialism.John M. Preston - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (September):277-303.
    One foundation of Eliminative Materialism is the claim that the totality of our ordinary resources for explaining and predicting behaviour, ?Folk Psychology?, constitutes a theoretical scheme, potentially in conflict with other theories of behaviour. Recent attacks upon this claim, as well as the defence by Paul Churchland, are examined and found to be lacking in a suitably realistic conception of theory. By finding such a conception, and by correctly identifying the level of conceptual structures within which Folk Psychology is located, (...)
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  • Two Tales of Functional Explanation.Martin Roth & Robert Cummins - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):773-788.
    This paper considers two ways functions figure into scientific explanations: (i) via laws?events are causally explained by subsuming those events under functional laws; and (ii) via designs?capacities are explained by specifying the functional design of a system. We argue that a proper understanding of how functions figure into design explanations of capacities makes it clear why such functions are ill-suited to figure into functional-cum-causal law explanations of events, as those explanations are typically understood. We further argue that a proper understanding (...)
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  • Explanatory Exclusion and Mental Explanation.Dwayne Moore - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (3):390-404.
    Jaegwon Kim once refrained from excluding distinct mental causes of effects that depend upon the sufficient physical cause of the effect. At that time, Kim also refrained from excluding distinct mental explanations of effects that depend upon complete physical explanations of the effect. More recently, he has excluded distinct mental causes of effects that depend upon the sufficient cause of the effect, since the physical cause is individually sufficient for the effect. But there has been, to this point, no parallel (...)
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