Mind and Language 9 (3):336-366 (1994)

Authors
Paul Pietroski
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be overdetermined by two hammers striking it at the same time. So how are we to reconcile these two views about the causal origins of human behaviour? One philosophical doctrine effects a nice reconciliation. Neuralism, or the token-identity theory, states that every particular mental event is a neurophysiological event and that every action is a physically specifiable bodily movement. If these identities hold, there is no problem of causal overdetermination: the apparently different causal pathways to the behaviour are actually one and the same pathway viewed from different perspectives. This attractively simple view is enjoying a recent revival in fortunes.
Keywords Behavior  Causation  Dualism  Epistemology  Mental  Science
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Reprint years 1994
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0017.1994.tb00229.x
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.

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Citations of this work BETA

When Other Things Aren’T Equal: Saving Ceteris Paribus Laws From Vacuity.Paul Pietroski & Georges Rey - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):81-110.
Dualism.Howard Robinson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Explanation and the Special Sciences.Brad Majors - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 113 (2):121 - 152.

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