Part-whole physicalism and mental causation

Synthese 136 (3):359-388 (2003)
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A well-known ``overdetermination''argument aims to show that the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world and the possibility of causally relevant mental properties are both problematic. In the first part of this paper, I extend an identity reply that has been given to the first problem to a property-instance account of causal relata. In the second, I argue that mental types are composed of physical types and, as a consequence, both mental and physical types may be causally relevant with respect to the same physical effect, contrary to the overdetermination argument. In further sections, I argue that mental types have causal powers, consider some objections and reject an alternative version of part-whole physicalism. Throughout I assume that causal relata are tropes and property types are classes of tropes.



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Douglas Ehring
Southern Methodist University

Citations of this work

No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
A Defense of Substance Causation.Ann Whittle - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (1):1-20.
A causal argument for dualism.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2475-2506.

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References found in this work

Mental causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
Some varieties of functionalism.Sydney Shoemaker - 1981 - Philosophical Topics 12 (1):93-119.
Disjunctive Properties.Lenny Clapp - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):111-136.

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