Interventionism and Epiphenomenalsim

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):359-383 (2010)
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One of the central objectives Shapiro and Sober pursue in is to show that what they call the master argument for epiphenomenalism, which is a type of causal exclusion argument, fails. Epiphe nomenalism, according to the terminology adopted in, designates the thesis that supervening macro properties have no causal influence on micro proper ties that are caused by the micro supervenience bases of those macro properties. Well-known classical exclusion arguments are designed to yield such macro-tomicro epiphenomenalism along the lines of the following reasoning: subject to the widely accepted principle of the causal closure of the physical, there exists a causally sufficient micro cause for every micro effect; if it is additionally assumed that macro properties supervene on micro properties without being identical to the latter and if — in light of the rareness of cases of causal overdetermination — micro effects are assumed not to be systematically overdetermined, it follows that macro properties are causally inert with respect to effects of their micro supervenience bases.



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Michael Baumgartner
Bergen University

Citations of this work

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