In this paper I reconstruct and evaluate the validity of two versions of causalexclusion arguments within the theory of causal Bayes nets. I argue that supervenience relations formally behave like causal relations. If this is correct, then it turns out that both versions of the exclusion argument are valid when assuming the causal Markov condition and the causal minimality condition. I also investigate some consequences for the recent discussion of causal (...) class='Hi'>exclusion arguments in the light of an interventionist theory of causation such as Woodward's (2003) and discuss a possible objection to my causal Bayes net reconstruction. (shrink)
There is a growing consensus among philosophers of science that scientific endeavors of understanding the human mind or the brain exhibit explanatory pluralism. Relatedly, several philosophers have in recent years defended an interventionist approach to causation that leads to a kind of causal pluralism. In this paper, I explore the consequences of these recent developments in philosophy of science for some of the central debates in philosophy of mind. First, I argue that if we adopt explanatory pluralism and the (...) interventionist approach to causation, our understanding of physicalism has to change, and this leads to what I call pluralistic physicalism. Secondly, I show that this pluralistic physicalism is not endangered by the causalexclusion argument. (shrink)
Hitchcock (2012) demonstrated that the validity of causalexclusion arguments as well as the plausibility of several of their premises hinges on the specific theory of causation endorsed. In this paper I show that the validity of causalexclusion arguments—if represented within the theory of causal Bayes nets the way Gebharter (2015) suggests—actually requires much weaker premises than the ones which are typically assumed. In particular, neither completeness of the physical domain nor the no overdetermination (...) assumption are required. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim argues that unreduced mental causes are excluded from efficacy because physical causes are sufficient in themselves. One response to this causalexclusion argument is to embrace some form of overdetermination. In this paper I consider two forms of overdetermination. Independent overdetermination suggests that two individually sufficient causes bring about one effect. This model fails because the sufficiency of one cause renders the other cause unnecessary. Dependent overdetermination suggests that a physical cause is necessary and sufficient for (...) a given effect, but it necessitates a mental cause of the effect as well. This model fails because the necessity of the mental cause renders the physical cause individually insufficient. (shrink)
While concerns of the mental being causally excluded by the physical have persistently plagued non-reductive physicalism, such concerns are standardly taken to pose no problem for reductive type physicalism. Type physicalists have the obvious advantage of being able to countenance the reduction of mental properties to their physical base properties by way of type identity, thereby avoiding any causal competition between instances of mental properties and their physical bases. Here, I challenge this widely accepted advantage of type physicalism over (...) non-reductive physicalism in avoiding the causalexclusion of the mental. In particular, I focus on Jaegwon Kim’s influential version of the causalexclusion argument, namely, his supervenience argument. I argue that type physicalism’s advantage is undermined by the following two things: (1) the generalizability of the supervenience argument, and (2) type physicalism’s incompatibility with mental properties at the fundamental level. This involves evaluating the generalization objection to the supervenience argument, probing the metaphysics of physicalism, and showing how (1) and (2) combine in a way that appears underappreciated given the general confidence in type physicalism’s advantage. (shrink)
In a series of influential articles (Kim 1989b, 1992b, 1993a and 1998), Jaegwon Kim has developed a strong argument against nonreductive physicalism as a plausible solution to mental causation. The argument is commonly called the ’causalexclusion argument’, and it has become, over the years, one of the most serious threats to the nonreductivist point of view. In the first part of this paper I offer a careful reconstruction and detailed discussion of the exclusion argument. In the (...) second part I show why some important objections to it actually fail. (shrink)
Causal overdetermination, the existence of more than one sufficient cause for an effect, is standardly regarded as unacceptable among philosophers of mental causation. Philosophers of mind, both proponents of causalexclusion arguments and defenders of non-reductive physicalism, seem generally displeased with the idea of mental causes merely overdetermining their already physically determined effects. However, as I point out below, overdetermination is widespread in the broadly physical domain. Many of these cases are due to what I call the (...) preservation of causal sufficiency. We need therefore to be precise about what unacceptable overdetermination amounts to in order to evaluate the prospects for a non-reductive account of mental causation. I argue that in order to have a good understanding of unacceptable overdetermination we should appeal to the notion of a minimal sufficient cause. In brief, a sufficient cause is minimal if it is sufficient to bring about the effect, but not more than sufficient. One way a cause could be more than sufficient for an effect is if its existence necessitates the existence of another (simultaneous) cause that is also sufficient for the same effect. In the second half of the paper I use this revised understanding of unacceptable causal overdetermination to show that the validity of the causalexclusion argument depends on strong readings of the principle of the causal self-sufficiency of physics. These strong readings can reasonably be questioned by a believer in non-reductive accounts of mental causation. This puts the burden of argument back on the causal exclusionist. (shrink)
In The CausalExclusion Problem, the popular strategy of abandoning any one of the principles constituting the causalexclusion problem is considered, but ultimately rejected. The metaphysical foundations undergirding the causalexclusion problem are then explored, revealing that the causalexclusion problem cannot be dislodged by undermining its metaphysical foundations – as some are in the habit of doing. Finally, the significant difficulties associated with the bevy of contemporary nonreductive solutions, from supervenience (...) to emergentism, are expanded upon. While conducting this survey of contemporary options, however, two novel approaches are introduced, both of which may resolve the causalexclusion problem from within a nonreductive physicalist paradigm. (shrink)
Given their physical realization, what causal work is left for functional properties to do? Humean solutions to the exclusion problem (e.g. overdetermination and difference-making) typically appeal to counterfactual and/or nomic relations between functional property-instances and behavioural effects, tacitly assuming that such relations suffice for causal work. Clarification of the notion of causal work, I argue, shows not only that such solutions don't work, but also reveals a novel solution to the exclusion problem based on the (...) relations between dispositional properties at different levels of mechanism, which involves three central claims: (i) the causal work of properties consists in grounding dispositions, (ii) functional properties are dispositions, and (iii) the dispositions of mechanisms are grounded in the dispositions of their components. Treating functional mental properties as dispositions of components in psychological mechanisms, I argue that such properties do the causal work of grounding agent-level dispositions. These dispositions, while ultimately grounded in the physical realizers of mental properties, are indirectly so grounded, through a hierarchy of grounding relations that extends upwards, of necessity, through the mental domain. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s causalexclusion argument says that if all physical effects have sufficient physical causes, and no physical effects are caused twice over by distinct physical and mental causes, there cannot be any irreducible mental causes. In addition, Kim has argued that the nonreductive physicalist must give up completeness, and embrace the possibility of downward causation. This paper argues first that this extra argument relies on a principle of property individuation, which the nonreductive physicalist need not accept, and (...) second that once we get clear on overdetermination, there is a way to reject the exclusion principle upon which the causalexclusion argument depends, but third that this should not lead to the belief that mental causation is easily accounted for in terms of counterfactual dependencies. (shrink)
This article considers the recent defense of the supervenience approach to physicalism due to Jaegwon Kim. Kim argues that supervenience supports physical causal closure, and that causal closure supports physicalism – indeed, a kind of reductive physicalism – and thus that supervenience suffices for physicalism. After laying out Kim's argument, I ask whether its success would truly vindicate the role of supervenience in defining physicalist positions. I argue that it would not, and that insofar as Kim's defense of (...) supervenience physicalism succeeds, it does so by showing that supervenience physicalism is not a unique, nonredundant way to be a physicalist. (shrink)
Causalexclusion arguments are taken to threaten the autonomy of the special sciences, and the causal efficacy of mental properties. A recent line of response to these arguments has appealed to “independently plausible” and “well grounded” theories of causation to rebut key premises. In this paper I consider two papers which proceed in this vein and show that they share a common feature: they both require causes to be proportional to their effects. I argue that this feature (...) is a bug, and one that generalises: any attempt to rescue the autonomy of the special sciences, or the efficacy of the mental, from exclusion worries had better not look to proportionality for help. (shrink)
A number of writers, myself included, have recently argued that an “interventionist” treatment of causation of the sort defended in Woodward, 2003 can be used to cast light on so-called “causalexclusion” arguments. This interventionist treatment of causalexclusion has in turn been criticized by other philosophers. This paper responds to these criticisms. It describes an interventionist framework for thinking about causal relationships when supervenience relations are present. I contend that this framework helps us to (...) see that standard arguments for causalexclusion involve mistaken assumptions about what it is appropriate to control for or hold fixed in assessing causal claims. The framework also provides a natural way of capturing the idea that properties that supervene on but that are not identical with realizing properties can be causally efficacious. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s influential exclusion argument attempts to demonstrate the inconsistency of nonreductive materialism in the philosophy of mind. Kim’s argument begins by showing that the three main theses of nonreductive materialism, plus two additional considerations, lead to a specific and familiar picture of mental causation. The exclusion argument can succeed only if, as Kim claims, this picture is not one of genuine causal overdetermination. Accordingly, one can resist Kim’s conclusion by denying this claim, maintaining instead that the (...) effects of the mental are always causally overdetermined. I call this strategy the ‘ overdetermination challenge’. One of the main aims of this paper is to show that the overdetermination challenge is the most appropriate response to Kim’s exclusion argument, at least in its latest form. I argue that Kim fails to adequately respond to the overdetermination challenge, thus failing to prevent his opponents from reasonably maintaining that the effects of the mental are always causally overdetermined. Interestingly, this discussion reveals a curious dialectical feature of Kim’s latest response to the overdetermination challenge: if it succeeds, then a new, simpler and more compact version of the exclusion argument is available. While I argue against the consequent of this conditional, thereby also rejecting the antecedent, this dialectical feature should be of interest to philosophers on either side of this debate. (shrink)
The principle of causalexclusion is based on two distinct causal notions: causal sufficiency and causation simpliciter. The principle suggests that the former has the power to exclude the latter. But that is problematic since it would amount to claiming that sufficient causes alone can take the roles of causes simpliciter. Moreover, the principle also assumes that events can sometimes have both sufficient causes and causes simpliciter. This assumption is in conflict with the first part of (...) the principle that claims that sufficient causes must exclude causes simpliciter. (shrink)
A much discussed argument in the philosophy of mind against non-reductive physicalism leads to the conclusion that all genuine causes involved in mental phenomena must be reductive physical causes. The latter ostensibly exclude any other causes from having genuine effects in human thought and behaviour. Jaegwon Kim has been the chief exponent of this line of argument, calling it variously the causalexclusion argument or the supervenience argument against non-reductive physicalism. I will analyse this argument and show that (...) some of its key assumptions are unwarranted. Two assumptions on which I will particularly focus are the causal closure of the physical and the prohibition against causal overdetermination when multiple sufficient causes are involved in some effect. The upshot will be that rather than lower-level physical causes always excluding or pre-empting possible mental causes, context plays a key role in determining what kinds of causation are at work in human behaviour and how those causes cooperate. (shrink)
It is quite obvious why the antireductionist picture of mental causation that rests on supervenience is an attractive theory. On the one hand, it secures uniqueness of the mental; on the other hand, it tries to place the mental in our world in a way that is compatible with the physicalist view. However, Kim reminds us that anti-reductionists face the following dilemma: either mental properties have causal powers or they do not. If they have them, we risk a violation (...) of the causal closure of the physical domain; if they do not have them, we embrace epiphenomenalism, which denies any sort of causal powers to the mental. So, either we violate the causal closure of physics, or we end up with epiphenomenalism. The first two sections of the article describe the problem of causalexclusion and Kim’s causal dilemma. The last two introduce Horgan’s antireductionist answer and my objection to that answer. (shrink)
In this brief note I claim that, contrary to what Esfeld argues in his paper in this same volume, Kim's position with respect to the problem of causalexclusion does indeed commit him to the causal heterogeneity of realized properties.
The first part of this paper presents an argument showing that the currently most highly acclaimed interventionist theory of causation, i.e. the one advanced by Woodward, excludes supervening macro properties from having a causal influence on effects of their micro supervenience bases. Moreover, this interventionist exclusion argument is demonstrated to rest on weaker premises than classical exclusion arguments. The second part then discusses a weakening of interventionism that Woodward suggests. This weakened version of interventionism turns out either (...) to be inapplicable to cases of downward causation involving supervening macro properties or to render corresponding causal claims meaningless. In sum, the paper argues that, contrary to what many non-reductive physicalists claim, interventionism does not render non-reductive physicalism immune to the problem of causalexclusion. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s causalexclusion argument has rarely been evaluated from an empirical perspective. This is puzzling because its conclusion seems to be making a testable claim about the world: supervenient properties are causally inefficacious. An empirical perspective, however, reveals Kim’s argument to rest on a mistaken conception about how to test whether a property is causally efficacious. Moreover, the empirical perspective makes visible a metaphysical bias that Kim brings to his argument that involves a principle of non-inclusion.
Christian List and Peter Menzies 2009 have looked to interventionist theories of causation for an answer to Jaegwon Kim's causalexclusion problem. Important to their response is the idea of realization-insensitivity. However, this idea becomes mired in issues concerning multiple realization, leaving it unable to fulfil its promise to block exclusion. After explaining why realization-insensitivity fails as a solution to Kim's problem, I look to interventionism to describe a different kind of solution.
Jaegwon Kim's causalexclusion argument has rarely been evaluated from an empirical perspective. This is puzzling because its conclusion seems to be making a testable claim about the world: supervenient properties are causally inefficacious. An empirical perspective, however, reveals Kim's argument to rest on a mistaken conception about how to test whether a property is causally efficacious. Moreover, the empirical perspective makes visible a metaphysical bias that Kim brings to his argument that involves a principle of non-inclusion.
One of the main line of responses to the infamous causalexclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account (...) carefully enough, the counterfactual notion of causation does not need to be committed to downward causation. However, it is a further question whether this is eventually enough to solve the exclusion problem for the analysis shows how the problem itself can take various different forms. (shrink)
A critical analysis of recent interventionist responses to the causalexclusion problem is presented. It is argued that the response can indeed offer a solution to the problem, but one that is based on renouncing the multiple realizability thesis. The account amounts to the rejection of nonreductive physicalism and would thus be unacceptable to many. It is further shown that if the multiple realizability thesis is brought back in and conjoined with the interventionist notion of causation, inter-level causation (...) is ruled out altogether. (shrink)
This paper is about the causalexclusion argument against non-reductive physicalism. Many philosophers think that this argument poses a serious problem for non-reductive theories of the mind — some think that it is decisive against them. In the first part I will outline non-reductive physicalism and the exclusion argument. Then I will distinguish between three versions of the argument that address three different versions of non-reductive physicalism. According to the first, the relation between mental and physical events (...) is token-identity. According to the second, mental events are distinct from physical events, but the latter metaphysically include and determine the former. And on the third version, mental and physical events are entirely distinct. I will argue that the causalexclusion argument is not decisive against non-reductive physicalism in any of the three versions. According to non-reductive physicalism, mental events are dependent on physical events. Causalexclusion and overdetermination, however, requires distinct and independent causes. I will argue that the burden of proof lies with the opponents of non-reductive physicalism, who have to explain how metaphysically dependent events can possibly overdetermine an effect or exclude each other from being causally efficacious. (shrink)
In The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness and the First-Person Stance, Jonardon Ganeri draws on the ancient Indian Cārvāka philosophy to delineate a “transformation” account of strong emergence, and argues that the account adequately addresses the well-known “causalexclusion problem” formulated by Kim. Ganeri moreover suggests that the transformation account is superior to the enactive account of emergence, developed by Francisco Varela and Evan Thompson for the latter merely “sidesteps” the exclusion problem. In this commentary, presented in an “author (...) meets critics” panel at the Pacific APA 2016, I suggest that, contrary to Ganeri’s claim, the enactive account does not merely sidestep the causalexclusion problem—the response the enactive account can offer is actually highly similar to the response offered by the transformation account. (shrink)
Is there a problem of causalexclusion between micro- and macro-level physical properties? I argue (following Kim) that the sorts of properties that in fact are in competition are macro properties, viz., the property of a (macro-) system of 'having such-and-such macro properties' (call this a 'macro-structural property') and the property of the same system of 'being constituted by such-and-such a micro- structure' (call this a 'micro-structural property'). I show that there are cases where, for lack of reducibility, (...) there is a prima facie intra-level causal competition between the two kinds of properties. The problem can be resolved without giving up on the causal efficacy of the macro-structural properties if we understand instances of macro-structural properties to be parts of micro-structural property instances. The parthood relation between both kinds of property instances can be mapped onto the way physical theory deals with the relation of their descriptions in the framework of perturbation theory. The application of this framework to the problem of emergent properties is discussed. (shrink)
Causation is extrinsic. What an event causes depends not just on its own nature and the laws, but on the environment in which it occurs. Had an event occurred under different conditions, it may have had different effects. Yet we often want to say that causation, in at least some respect, is not extrinsic. Events exert an influence on the world themselves, independently of what other events do or do not occur in their surroundings. This paper develops an account of (...) such influence and argues that it provides a solution to the causalexclusion problem. By locating that solution largely within the metaphysics of causation, we can solve the exclusion problem without taking on a commitment to a theory of mind. (shrink)
There are a wide variety of theories of causation available in the philosophical literature. For the philosopher working in philosophy of mind, who makes use of causal concepts, what is to be made of this embarrassment of riches? By considering a variety of theoretical perspectives, she can discover which principles or assumptions about causation are robust, and which hold only within particular frameworks. In particular, she should be suspicious when the different premises in an argument can only be made (...) true by shifting between different theories of causation. I illustrate these themes using the causalexclusion argument. (shrink)
This paper aims to show that a counterfactual approach to causation is not sufficient to provide a solution to the causalexclusion problem in the form of systematic overdetermination. Taking into account the truthmakers of causal counterfactuals provides a strong argument in favour of the identity of causes in situations of translevel, causation.
Jaegwon Kim's causalexclusion argument says that if all physical effects have sufficient physical causes, and no physical effects are caused twice over by distinct physical and mental causes, there cannot be any irreducible mental causes. In addition, Kim has argued that the nonreductive physicalist must give up completeness, and embrace the possibility of downward causation. This paper argues first that this extra argument relies on a principle of property individuation, which the nonreductive physicalist need not accept, and (...) second that once we get clear on overdetermination, there is a way to reject the exclusion principle upon which the causalexclusion argument depends, but third that this should not lead to the belief that mental causation is easily accounted for in terms of counterfactual dependencies. (shrink)
One of the aims of “Mental Causation and Mental Properties” is to argue that Kim's position with respect to the problem of causalexclusion does not entail the causal heterogeneity of higher‐level properties pace Kim himself. I find that Esfeld's argument misses the point of Kim's position. In what follows I shall briefly try to explain why.
The article is divided into two parts. The first part offers a careful reconstruction and detailed discussion of the argument of causalexclusion, as well as of the implications it has for physicalism. In its second part the article examines two important objections to the causalexclusion argument: the generalization objection, which holds that the argument is unacceptable since it confers causal efficacy only to ultimate basic properties, which arguably might not exist; and Yablo’s objection, (...) according to which underlying the argument of causalexclusion there is a principle of causal parsimony which leads to strong counterintuitive results and should therefore be abandoned. The article offers grounds for rejecting both objections as well as a new diagnosis of the problem for mental causation generated by the causalexclusion argument. (shrink)
Emergent properties are intended to be genuine, natural higher level causally efficacious properties irreducible to physical ones. At the same time they are somehow dependent on or 'emergent from' complexes of physical properties, so that the doctrine of emergent properties is not supposed to be returned to dualism. The doctrine faces two challenges: (i) to explain precisely how it is that such properties emerge - what is emergence; (ii) to explain how they sidestep the exclusion problem - how it (...) is that there is room for these properties to be causally efficacious, given the causal completeness of the physical. In this paper I explain how functional properties can meet both challenges. (shrink)
The causal/explanatory exclusion argument is one of the principal weapons against the possibility of mental causes/explanations having genuine causal/explanatory power. I argue that the causal and the explanatory versions of the exlusion argument should be distinguished. There are really two arguments, one of them perhaps successful, the other one not.
Terry Horgan University of Memphis In this paper I address the problem of causalexclusion, specifically as it arises for mental properties (although the scope of the discussion is more general, being applicable to other kinds of putatively causal properties that are not identical to narrowly physical causal properties, i.e., causal properties posited by physics). I summarize my own current position on the matter, and I offer a defense of this position. I draw upon and (...) synthesize relevant discussions in various <blockquote>  </blockquote> other papers of mine (some collaborative) that bear on this topic. (shrink)
Recent work by Jaegwon Kim and others suggest that functionalism leaves mental properties causally inefficacious in some sense. I examine three lines of argument for this conclusion. The first appeals to Occam's Razor; the second appeals to a ban on overdetermination; and the third charges that the kind of response I favor to these arguments forces me to give up "the homogeneity of mental and physical causation". I show how each argument fails. While I concede that a positive theory of (...) mental causation is desirable, there is no reason to think that functionalism renders such a theory unattainable. (shrink)
Given Kim’s principle of explanatory exclusion (EE), it follows that in addition to the problem of mental causation, dualism faces a problem of mental explanation. However, the plausibility of EE rests upon the acceptance of a further principle concerning the individuation of explanation (EI). The two methods of defending EI—either by combining an internal account of the individuation of explanation with a semantical account of properties or by accepting an external account of the individuation of explanation—are both metaphysically implausible. (...) This is not, however, to reject the problem of mental explanation, for EE can be replaced with a far weaker principle, which does not require the acceptance of EI, but which generates a similar problem for dualism. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim argues that if mental properties are irreducible with respect to physical properties, then mental properties are epiphenomenal. I believe that this conditional is false and argue that mental properties, along with their physical counterparts, may causally overdetermine their effects. Kim contends, however, that embracing causal overdetermination in the mental case should be resisted for at least three reasons: it is implausible, it makes mental properties causally dispensable, and it violates the Causal Closure Principle. I believe, however, (...) that each of these reasons can be defeated. Moreover, further reflection on , according to Kim’s implicit logic, may lend support to the claim that physical properties, and not mental properties, are in danger of losing their causal relevance. (shrink)
In this paper I examine nonreductive materialism (physicalism). This is a position that Terry Horgan favors in his papers and is probably the most widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind in recent decades. In contrast to this, I will argue that nonreductive materialism is an unstable position and will suggest that we can show this using Horgan's own work on the concept of superdupervenience.
The basic idea behind the Competitive Exclusion Principle is that species that have similar or identical niches cannot stably coexist in the same place for long periods of time when their common resources are limiting. A more exact definition of the CEP states that, in equilibrium, n number of sympatric species competing for a common set of limiting resources cannot stably coexist indefinitely on fewer than n number of resources. The magnitude or intensity of competition between species is proportional (...) to the degree of overlap in their niches or use of resources. Species that stably coexist do so because there are “important differences” in their niches or use of common limiting resources. (shrink)