How causal is downward causation?


Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to lay bare the major problems underlying the concept of downward causation as discussed within the perspective of the present interest for phenomena that are characterized by self-organization. In our Discussion of the literature, we have focussed on two questions: (1) What sorts of things are said to be, respectively, causing and caused within the context of downward causation? And (2) What is the meaning of 'causing' in downward causation? We have concluded that the concept of 'downward causation' is muddled with regard to the meaning of causation and fuzzy with regard to the nature of the causes and the effects. Moreover, we have concluded that 'causation' in respect of 'downward causation' is usually understood in terms of explanation and determination rather than in terms of causation in the sense of 'bringing about'. Thus, the term 'downward causation' is badly chosen
Keywords Aristotelian categories  causation  causal relata  downward causation  emergence  self-organization  formal causation
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DOI 10.1007/s10838-006-7153-3
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophy of Mind.Jaegwon Kim - 1996 - Westview Press.
Downward Causation.Donald T. Campbell - 1974 - In F. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (eds.), Studies in the Philosophy of Biology. University of California Press. pp. 179--186.
Explaining Emergence: Toward an Ontology of Levels. [REVIEW]Claus Emmeche, Simo Koppe & Frederick Stjernfelt - 1997 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 28 (1):83-119.

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Citations of this work BETA

Elder-Vass on the Causal Power of Social Structures.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):774-791.
Neither Metaphysical Dichotomy nor Pure Identity: Clarifying the Emergentist Creed.Olivier Sartenaer - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):365-373.
Sixteen Years Later: Making Sense of Emergence (Again).Olivier Sartenaer - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):79-103.

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