Against Disanalogy-Style Responses to the Exclusion Problem

Philosophia 43 (2):435-453 (2015)
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This paper focuses on an influential line of response to the exclusion problem for nonreductive physicalism, one defended with the most subtlety by Karen Bennett. According to this line of thought, a successful nonreductive response to the exclusion problem, a response that allows one to maintain each of the core components of nonreductive physicalism, may consist in showing that the manner in which the effects of mental causes also have distinct and sufficient physical causes is disanalogous to other types of cases in which an effect may have distinct sufficient causes. After laying out the formulation of the problem that Bennett endorses, along with her response to the problem, I offer an initial critique of this response insofar as it is couched in terms of her preferred formulation. I then present a general critique of disanalogy-style responses to the exclusion problem. I argue that extant implementations of this strategy are at best underdeveloped, and suggest that lack of clarity in the use of “overdetermination” may function to mask the shortcomings of this strategy. While others have questioned the details of such responses, the worries that I raise concern the very logic of the exclusion problem and how such responses fit into this logic.



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Kevin Morris
Tulane University

Citations of this work

Rejecting epiphobia.Umut Baysan - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2773-2791.
Mental causation, compatibilism and counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.

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References found in this work

Meditations on First Philosophy.René Descartes - 1984 [1641] - Ann Arbor: Caravan Books. Edited by Stanley Tweyman.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
From an ontological point of view.John Heil - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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