Comments on Jaegwon Kim’s Mind and the Physical World

Barry Loewer
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
NRP is a family of views differing by how they understand “reduction” and “physicalism.” Following Kim I understand the non-reduction as holding that some events and properties are distinct from any physical events and properties. A necessary condition for physicalism is that mental properties, events, and laws supervene on physical ones. Kim allows various understandings of “supervenience” but I think that physicalism requires at least the claim that any minimal physical duplicate of the actual world is a duplicate simpliciter. Some complications aside this means that true mental propositions, e.g. Jaegwon is thinking about sailing, are metaphysically entailed by true physical propositions. Kim says that supervenience is too weak to capture the root idea of physicalism that mental property instantiations depend on physical property instantiations so he adds that the mental depends on the physical. One way in which this dependance might be spelled out is that mental properties are higher order functional properties whose instantiations are realized by instantiations of physical properties. An event is an instantiation of a property by an individual and a time. A mental event is the instantiation of a mental property. Not every predicate expresses a genuine property. Kim further suggests that properties are individuated, at least partly, by nomological and causal relations. For physicalism to have content something must be said about the difficult issue of characterizing the physical. Kim’s view seems to be that the micro-physical properties of ideal physics are physical. He also counts as physical properties that are conjunctions and aggregates of micro-physical properties and higher level properties defined over lower-level physical properties.. Since these latter two classes of properties supervene on the micro-properties and laws there is no need to include them in the supervenience base.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2002.tb00229.x
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers Vol. II.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Causation in a Physical World.Hartry Field - 2003 - In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 435-460.
Causation: A Realist Approach.Michael Tooley - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
Mind Matters.Ernest Lepore & Barry M. Loewer - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (November):630-642.

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Citations of this work BETA

Kim on Causation and Mental Causation.Panu Raatikainen - 2018 - E-Logos Electronic Journal for Philosophy 25 (2):22–47.
Mental Causation.Karen Bennett - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
Can Counterfactuals Solve the Exclusion Problem?Lei Zhong - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):129-147.

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