Sophisticated Exclusion and Sophisticated Causation

Journal of Philosophy 111 (7):341-360 (2014)
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The Exclusion Argument, which aims to deny the causal efficacy of irreducible mental properties, is probably the most serious challenge to non-reductive physicalism. Many proposed solutions to the exclusion problem can only reject simplified exclusion arguments, but fail to block a sophisticated version I introduce. In this paper, I attempt to show that we can refute the sophisticated exclusion argument by appeal to a sophisticated understanding of causation, what I call the 'Dual-condition Conception of Causation'. Specifically, I argue that the dual-condition account of causation gives strong support to the so-called 'Autonomy Solution', which contends that even if mental properties are unable to cause (fundamental) physical properties, they can still cause higher-level properties (such as mental, behavioral, and social properties)—if so, human agency would be preserved in the physical world.



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Lei Zhong
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Citations of this work

Causal exclusion and the limits of proportionality.Neil McDonnell - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1459-1474.
Taking Emergentism Seriously.Lei Zhong - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):31-46.
Mental Causation.David Robb & John Heil - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Halfway Proportionality.Bram Vaassen - 2022 - Philosophical Studies (9):1-21.

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