Zooming in on downward causation

Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):117-136 (2005)
Abstract
. An attempt is made to identify a concept of ‘downward causation’ that will fit the claims of some recent writers and apply to interesting cases in biology and cognitive theory, but not to trivial cases. After noting some difficulties in achieving this task, it is proposed that in interesting cases commonly used to illustrate ‘downward causation’, (a) regularities hold between multiply realizable properties and (b) the explanation of the parallel regularity at the level of the realizing properties is non-trivial. It is argued that the relation between a realizable property and the property that realizes its effect in a particular case is not usefully regarded as a species of causation and that use of the concept of downward causation deflects our attention from our central explanatory tasks.
Keywords Causation  Emergence  Explanation  Realization  Science
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-005-0414-4
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References found in this work BETA
Supervenience and Mind.Jaegwon Kim - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Kinds, Complexity, and Multiple Realization.Robert Boyd - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):67-98.
Downward Causation.Donald T. Campbell - 1974 - In F. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (eds.), Studies in the Philosophy of Biology. University of California Press. pp. 179--186.

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Citations of this work BETA
Wholes That Cause Their Parts: Organic Self-Reproduction and the Reality of Biological Teleology.Thomas Teufel - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (2):252-260.
Wholes That Cause Their Parts: Organic Self-Reproduction and the Reality of Biological Teleology.Thomas Teufel - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):252-260.

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