On the matter of minds and mental causation

Abstract
There is a difference between someone breaking a glass by accidentally brushing up against it and smashing a glass in a fit of anger. In the first case, the person's cognitive state has little to do with the event, but in the second, the mental state qua anger is quite relevant. How are we to understand this difference? What is the proper way to understand the relation between the mind, the brain, and the resultant behavior? This paper explores the popular "middle ground" reply in which mental phenomena are claimed to be "as real as" other higher level properties. It argues that this solution fails to answer epistemological difficulties surrounding how to chose the appropriate factors in an explanation. A more sophisticated understanding of scientific theorizing and of the relation between ontology and explanation give us a framework in which we can determine when we should refer to mental states as being the causally efficacious agents for some behavior
Keywords Causation  Matter  Mental  Metaphysics  Mind
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DOI 10.2307/2653628
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