Do causal powers drain away

Abstract

In this note, I will discuss one issue concerning the main argument of Mind in a Physical World (Kim, 1998), the Causal Exclusion Argument. The issue is whether it is a consequence of the Causal Exclusion Argument that all macro level causation (that is, causation above the level of fundamental physics) is an illusion, with all of the apparent causal powers of mental and other macro properties draining into the bottom level of physics. I will argue that such a consequence would give us reason to reject the Causal Exclusion Argument. But there is also a stronger challenge, the charge that, if there is no bottom level of physics, the Causal Exclusion Argument has the consequence that “causal powers would drain away into a bottomless pit and there wouldn’t be any causation anywhere.” (81--page numbers that are not attributed to other works are to Kim, 1998).

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Ned Block
New York University

Citations of this work

Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
From Nihilism to Monism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):175 – 191.
Three Kinds of Social Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.
Dualism and Exclusion.Bram Vaassen - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (3):543-552.

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