Nonreductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle

Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):475-502 (2009)

Authors
Christian List
London School of Economics
Abstract
It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higherlevel property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as differencemaking to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is a contingent matter and derive necessary and sufficient conditions under which a version of it holds. We argue that one important instance of the principle, far from undermining non-reductive physicalism, actually supports the causal autonomy of certain higher-level properties
Keywords Non reductive physicalism  Mental causation  Exclusion problem  Causation as difference making  Higher versus lower levels  Downward exclusion  Special sciences
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Reprint years 2009
DOI 10.5840/jphil2009106936
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References found in this work BETA

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Explaining the Brain.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Interventionism and Causal Exclusion.James Woodward - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):303-347.
Emergent Chance.Christian List & Marcus Pivato - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):119-152.

View all 93 citations / Add more citations

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