Counterfactual Causation and Mental Causation

Philosophia 42 (2):363-385 (2014)

Abstract
Counterfactual conditionals have been appealed to in various ways to show how the mind can be causally efficacious. However, it has often been overestimated what the truth of certain counterfactuals actually indicates about causation. The paper first identifies four approaches that seem to commit precisely this mistake. The arguments discussed involve erroneous assumptions about the connection of counterfactual dependence and genuine causation, as well as a disregard of the requisite evaluation conditions of counterfactuals. In a second step, the paper uses the insights of the foregoing analyses to formulate a set of counterfactuals-based conditions that are characterized as sufficient to establish singular causal claims. The paper concludes that there are ample reasons to believe that some mental events satisfy all these conditions with respect to certain further events and, hence, that mental events sometimes are causes
Keywords Mental causation  Counterfactual causation  Philosophy of mind  Metaphysics  Causal exclusion  Supervenience
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-013-9496-4
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.
Two Challenges for a Boolean Approach to Constitutive Inference.Jens Harbecke - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):17.

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