Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion

In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
Brad Weslake
New York University, Shanghai
Consider the following causal exclusion principle: For all distinct properties F and F* such that F* supervenes on F, F and F* do not both cause a property G. Peter Menzies and Christian List have proven that it follows from a natural conception of causation as difference-making that this exclusion principle is not generally true. Rather, it turns out that whether the principle is true is a contingent matter. In addition, they have shown that in a wide range of empirically ordinary cases, it follows that F* causes G and F does not. These cases plausibly include instances where F* is a mental property and F and G are physical properties. If this is the right conception of causation, it therefore turns out that the physical world is not causally closed. In this paper I show that there is an alternative conception of causation as difference-making that does not have the same consequences. Whether the physical world is causally closed therefore turns out to depend, inter alia, on which conception of difference-making is correct. I give a number of arguments for the alternative conception of difference-making.
Keywords Causation  Difference-Making  Causal Closure
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,562
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Lessons From The Context Sensitivity of Causal Talk.Eric Swanson - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):221-242.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Proportionality, Contrast and Explanation.Brad Weslake - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):785-797.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Physical Causation and Difference-Making.Alyssa Ney - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):737-764.
The Causal Autonomy of the Special Sciences.Peter Menzies & Christian List - 2010 - In Cynthia Mcdonald & Graham Mcdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
Making a Difference in a Deterministic World.C. Sartorio - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):189-214.
Mental Causation in a Physical World.Eric Marcus - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 122 (1):27-50.
Exclusion, Overdetermination, and the Nature of Causation.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:261-282.
Mechanisms Revisited.James Woodward - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):409-427.
The Causal Exclusion Argument.Jesper Kallestrup - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (2):459-85.
Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism.E. J. Lowe - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (294):571-586.
Emergent Causation.Simon Prosser - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (1):21-39.
Emerging From the Causal Drain.Richard Corry - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):29-47.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
97 ( #63,452 of 2,268,316 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #38,194 of 2,268,316 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature