Can counterfactuals save mental causation?


Authors
Igal Kvart
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Abstract
In this paper I rely on my account of counterfactuals in order to argue that supervenience and epiphenomenalism are incompatible. This argument is strong when directed against a freestanding epiphenomenalism. Along the way I will also argue that Davidson’s argument in favor of mental causation is not valid. A crucial intermediate point in the argument is the issue of counterfactual transitivity. I argue that, even though in general counterfactual transitivity is invalid, a valid sub-inference can be specified. I also specify under what conditions the inference from a counterfactual to cause holds. Section 1: Supervenience, counterfactuals, mental causation and Davidson. In his “Thinking Causes”,1 Davidson provided the following account, and argument in favor, of mental causation
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