International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):49-64 (2014)
AbstractSeveral authors have recently claimed that the notorious causal exclusion problem, according to which higher-level causes are threatened with causal pre-emption by lower-level causes, can be avoided if causal relevance is understood in terms of Woodward's interventionist account of causation. They argue that if causal relevance is defined in interventionist terms, there are cases where only higher-level properties, but not the lower-level properties underlying them, qualify as causes of a certain effect. In this article, I show that the line of reasoning supposed to establish this claim does not succeed and that interventionism is not better capable of dealing with higher-level causal claims than other accounts of causation. According to Woodward, higher-level causal claims are nonetheless more adequate than lower-level ones if they describe a realization-independent dependency relationship and, hence, meet the requirement that causes should be proportional to their effects. I argue, however, that combining interventionism with proportionality considerations raises difficulties and that, therefore, Woodward's account does not vindicate higher-level causation
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References found in this work
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind–Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - MIT Press.
Explaining the Brain: Mechanisms and the Mosaic Unity of Neuroscience.Carl F. Craver - 2007 - Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Citations of this work
Robustness, Diversity of Evidence, and Probabilistic Independence.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2015 - In Mäki, Ruphy, Schurz & Votsis (eds.), Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Science: EPSA13 Helsinki. Springer. pp. 305-316.
Intervening Into Mechanisms: Prospects and Challenges.Lena Kästner & Lise Marie Andersen - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12546.
The Inherent Empirical Underdetermination of Mental Causation.Michael Baumgartner - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):335-350.
Kim on Causation and Mental Causation.Panu Raatikainen - 2018 - E-Logos Electronic Journal for Philosophy 25 (2):22–47.
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