Program explanations and causal relevance

Acta Analytica 20 (36):32-47 (2005)
Abstract
Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit have defended a non-reductive account of causal relevance known as the ‘program explanation account’. Allegedly, irreducible mental properties can be causally relevant in virtue of figuring in non-redundant program explanations which convey information not conveyed by explanations in terms of the physical properties that actually do the ‘causal work’. I argue that none of the possible ways to spell out the intuitively plausible idea of a program explanation serves its purpose, viz., defends non-reductive physicalism against Jaegwon Kim’s Causal Exclusion Argument according to which non-reductive physicalism is committed to epiphenomenalism because irreducible mental properties are ‘screened off’ from causal relevance by their physical realizers. Jackson and Pettit’s most promising explication of a program explanation appeals to the idea of invariance of effect under variation of realization , but I show that invariance of effect under variation of realization is neither necessary nor sufficient for causal relevance
Keywords Causation  Mental Causation  Metaphysics  Physicalism  Kim, Jaegwon
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-005-1028-9
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References found in this work BETA
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
Mechanism, Purpose, and Explanatory Exclusion.Jaegwon Kim - 1989 - Philosophical Perspectives 3:77-108.

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Citations of this work BETA
What is a Structural Explanation?Sally Haslanger - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):113-130.

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