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Mental Causation

Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337 (2007)

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  1. Dualism: How Epistemic Issues Drive Debates About the Ontology of Consciousness.Brie Gertler - forthcoming - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    A primary goal of this chapter is to highlight neglected epistemic parallels between dualism and physicalism. Both dualist and physicalist arguments employ a combination of empirical data and armchair reflection; both rely on considerations stemming from how we conceptualize certain phenomena; and both aim to establish views that are compatible with scientific results but go well beyond the deliverances of empirical science. -/- I begin the chapter by fleshing out the distinctive commitments of dualism, in a way that illuminates the (...)
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  • Is Property Dualism Better Off Than Substance Dualism?William G. Lycan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):533-542.
    It is widely thought that mind–body substance dualism is implausible at best, though mere “property” dualism is defensible and even flourishing. This paper argues that substance dualism is no less plausible than property dualism and even has two advantages over it.
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  • Excluding the Problem: Bennett on Counterfactual Tests and Backtracking.Katelyn Hallman - 2016 - Florida Philosophical Review 16 (1):41-55.
    In this paper, I explain and assess Karen Bennett’s solution to the exclusion problem. I begin by explaining and motivating Bennett’s formulation of the exclusion problem. Bennett’s formulation of the problem is unique in that it’s not a pointed argument against any one particular view; rather, her formulation sets up the problem as a set of inconsistent claims, at least one of which must be denied to remove the inconsistency. I then explain and motivate Bennett’s solution. Bennett creates a counterfactual (...)
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  • Causation, Exclusion, and the Special Sciences.Panu Raatikainen - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):349-363.
    The issue of downward causation (and mental causation in particular), and the exclusion problem is discussed by taking into account some recent advances in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. It is argued that from this viewpoint, a higher-level (e.g., mental) state can sometimes truly be causally relevant, and moreover, that the underlying physical state which realizes it may fail to be such.
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  • Can The Mental Be Causally Efficacious?Panu Raatikainen - 2013 - In K. Talmont-Kaminski M. Milkowski (ed.), Regarding the Mind, Naturally: Naturalist Approaches to the Sciences of the Mental. Cambridge Scholars Press.
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  • Dualist Mental Causation and the Exclusion Problem.Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):357-375.
    The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by its mental (...)
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  • Exclusion Again.Karen Bennett - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 280--307.
    I think that there is an awful lot wrong with the exclusion problem. So, it seems, does just about everybody else. But of course everyone disagrees about exactly _what_ is wrong with it, and I think there is more to be said about that. So I propose to say a few more words about why the exclusion problem is not really a problem after all—at least, not for the nonreductive physicalist. The genuine _dualist_ is still in trouble. Indeed, one of (...)
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  • Causal Theories of Mental Content.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (2):353–380.
    Causal theories of mental content (CTs) ground certain aspects of a concept's meaning in the causal relations a concept bears to what it represents. Section 1 explains the problems CTs are meant to solve and introduces terminology commonly used to discuss these problems. Section 2 specifies criteria that any acceptable CT must satisfy. Sections 3, 4, and 5 critically survey various CTs, including those proposed by Fred Dretske, Jerry Fodor, Ruth Garrett Millikan, David Papineau, Dennis Stampe, Dan Ryder, and the (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).
    Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
    Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys (...)
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  • Anomalous Dualism: A New Approach to the Mind-Body Problem.David Bourget - 2019 - In William Seager (ed.), The Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
    In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism about consciousness, a view that has not previously been explored in any detail. We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions: first, a theory might be physicalist or dualist; second, a theory might endorse any of the three following views regarding causal relations between phenomenal properties (properties that characterize states of our consciousness) and physical properties: nomism (the two kinds of property interact through deterministic laws), acausalism (they do not causally interact), and (...)
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  • Causal After All : A Model of Mental Causation for Dualists.Bram Vaassen - 2019 - Dissertation, Umeå University
    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete. In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. an (...)
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  • Ethical Reductionism.Neil Sinhababu - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):32-52.
    Ethical reductionism is the best version of naturalistic moral realism. Reductionists regard moral properties as identical to properties appearing in successful scientific theories. Nonreductionists, including many of the Cornell Realists, argue that moral properties instead supervene on scientific properties without identity. I respond to two arguments for nonreductionism. First, nonreductionists argue that the multiple realizability of moral properties defeats reductionism. Multiple realizability can be addressed in ethics by identifying moral properties uniquely or disjunctively with properties of the special sciences. Second, (...)
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  • Giving Dualism its Due.William G. Lycan - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):551-563.
    Despite the current resurgence of modest forms of mind?body dualism, traditional Cartesian immaterial-substance dualism has few, if any, defenders. This paper argues that no convincing case has been made against substance dualism, and that standard objections to it can be credibly answered.
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  • The Causal Relevance of Content to Computation.Michael Rescorla - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):173-208.
    Many philosophers worry that the classical computational theory of mind (CTM) engenders epiphenomenalism. Building on Block’s (1990) discussion, I formulate a particularly troubling version of this worry. I then present a novel solution to CTM’s epiphenomenalist conundrum. I develop my solution within an interventionist theory of causal relevance. My solution departs substantially from orthodox versions of CTM. In particular, I reject the widespread picture of digital computation as formal syntactic manipulation.1.
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  • The Philosophy of Phenomenal Consciousness.Zoe Drayson - 2015 - In The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness. Amsterdam: pp. 273-292.
    A primer on the philosophical issues relating to phenomenal consciousness, part of a collection of new papers by scientists and philosophers on the constitution of consciousness.
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  • Mental Causation, Interventions, and Contrasts (2006).Panu Raatikainen - manuscript
    The problem of mental causation is discussed by taking into account some recent developments in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. The import of the idea that causal claims involve contrastive classes in mental causation is also discussed. It is argued that mental causation is much less a problem than it has appeared to be.
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  • Naturalism and Physicalism.D. Gene Witmer - 2012 - In Robert Barnard & Neil Manson (eds.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics. pp. 90-120.
    A substantial guide providing an overview of both physicalism and metaphysical naturalism, reviewing both questions of formulation and justification for both doctrines. Includes a diagnostic strategy for understanding talk of naturalism as a metaphysical thesis.
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  • No Pairing Problem.Andrew M. Bailey, Joshua Rasmussen & Luke Van Horn - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (3):349-360.
    Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: Kim’s Dictum (...)
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  • Projectivism Psychologized: The Philosophy and Psychology of Disgust.Daniel R. Kelly - unknown
    This dissertation explores issues in the philosophy of psychology and metaphysics through the lens of the emotion of disgust, and its corresponding property, disgustingness. The first chapter organizes an extremely large body of data about disgust, imposes two constraints any theory must meet, and offers a cognitive model of the mechanisms underlying the emotion. The second chapter explores the evolution of disgust, and argues for the Entanglement thesis: this uniquely human emotion was formed when two formerly distinct mechanisms, one dedicated (...)
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  • Interactionism, Haecceities, and the Pairing Argument.Bradford Saad - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (7):724-741.
    Interactionists hold that non-spatial objects causally interact with physical objects. Interactionists have traditionally grappled with the puzzle of how such interaction is possible. More recently, Jaegwon Kim has presented interactionists with a more daunting threat: the pairing argument, which purports to refute interactionism by showing that non-spatial objects cannot stand in causal relations. After reviewing that argument, I develop a challenge to it on behalf of the interactionist. The challenge poses a dilemma: roughly, either haecceities exist or they do not. (...)
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  • Role Functionalism and Epiphenomenalism.Dwayne Moore - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (3):511-525.
    The type-type reductive identity of the mental to the physical was once the dominant position in the mental causation debate. In time this consensus was overturned, largely due to its inability to handle the problem of multiple realizability. In its place a nonreductive position emerged which often included an adherence to functionalism. Functionalism construes mental properties as functional states of an organism, which in turn have specific physical realizers. This nonreductive form of functionalism, henceforth called role functionalism, has faced a (...)
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  • Two Solutions to the Neural Discernment Problem.Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    Interactionists hold that minds are non-physical objects that interact with brains. The neural discernment problem for interactionism is that of explaining how non-physical minds produce behavior and cognition by exercising different causal powers over physiologically similar neurons. This paper sharpens the neural discernment problem and proposes two interactionist models of mind-brain interaction that solve it. One model avoids overdetermination while the other respects the causal closure of the physical domain.
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  • Liberal Representationalism: A Deflationist Defense.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):407-430.
    The idea that only complex brains can possess genuine representations is an important element in mainstream philosophical thinking. An alternative view, which I label ‘liberal representationalism’, holds that we should accept the existence of many more full-blown representations, from activity in retinal ganglion cells to the neural states produced by innate releasing mechanisms in cognitively unsophisticated organisms. A promising way of supporting liberal representationalism is to show it to be a consequence of our best naturalistic theories of representation. However, several (...)
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  • Consequentialism and the Causal Efficacy of the Moral.Andrea Viggiano - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
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  • Klątwa Kartezjusza — czyli uwagi Jaegwona Kima o przyczynowaniu mentalnym.Szymon Paweł Dziczek - 2016 - Humanistyka I Przyrodoznawstwo 22:119-130.
    Zagadnienie przyczynowania mentalnego pozostaje niezwykle istotnym i ciekawym problemem w ramach współczesnej filozofii umysłu. Wśród rozmaitych ujęć i teorii znaczącą rolę pełnią rozważania koreańskiego filozofa Jaegwona Kima. Zyskujący na popularności nurt fizykalizmu nieredukcyjnego musi się zmierzyć z nakreślonymi przez Kima trudnościami. Ograniczeni zasadą przyczynowego domknięcia sfery fizycznej i groźbą przyczynowego wykluczenia sfery mentalnej, antyredukcjoniści poszukują wyjścia z tych arcytrudnych opresji.
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  • Norms and Customs: Causally Important or Causally Impotent?Todd Jones - 2010 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 40 (3):399-432.
    In this article, I argue that norms and customs, despite frequently being described as being causes of behavior in the social sciences and ordinary conversation, cannot really cause behavior. Terms like "norms" and the like seem to refer to philosophically disreputable disjunctive properties. More problematically, even if they do not, or even if there can be disjunctive properties after all, I argue that norms and customs still cannot cause behavior. The social sciences would be better off without referring to properties (...)
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  • Emotion.Peter Goldie - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):928–938.
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  • Grounding Mental Causation.Thomas Kroedel & Moritz Schulz - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1909-1923.
    This paper argues that the exclusion problem for mental causation can be solved by a variant of non-reductive physicalism that takes the mental not merely to supervene on, but to be grounded in, the physical. A grounding relation between events can be used to establish a principle that links the causal relations of grounded events to those of grounding events. Given this principle, mental events and their physical grounds either do not count as overdetermining physical effects, or they do so (...)
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  • Intervening on the Causal Exclusion Problem for Integrated Information Theory.Matthew Baxendale & Garrett Mindt - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):331-351.
    In this paper, we examine the causal framework within which integrated information theory of consciousness makes it claims. We argue that, in its current formulation, IIT is threatened by the causal exclusion problem. Some proponents of IIT have attempted to thwart the causal exclusion problem by arguing that IIT has the resources to demonstrate genuine causal emergence at macro scales. In contrast, we argue that their proposed solution to the problem is damagingly circular as a result of inter-defining information and (...)
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  • Two Tales of Functional Explanation.Martin Roth & Robert Cummins - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):773-788.
    This paper considers two ways functions figure into scientific explanations: (i) via laws?events are causally explained by subsuming those events under functional laws; and (ii) via designs?capacities are explained by specifying the functional design of a system. We argue that a proper understanding of how functions figure into design explanations of capacities makes it clear why such functions are ill-suited to figure into functional-cum-causal law explanations of events, as those explanations are typically understood. We further argue that a proper understanding (...)
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  • Interactive, Inclusive Substance Dualism.Jeff Engelhardt - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1149-1165.
    This paper argues that a certain kind of substance dualism can adopt the ‘Compatibilist’ solution to the problem of causal exclusion. After sketching a non-Cartesian substance dualism akin to E.J. Lowe’s account, 5-23, 2006, 2008) and considering its shortcomings with respect to mental causation in section one, section two outlines an alternative account of mental causation and argues that this account solves the exclusion problem. Finally, section three considers a challenge to the proposed solution. With the exception of Lowe’s efforts, (...)
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  • Identity Theories.Thomas W. Polger - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):822-834.
    Identity theories are those that hold that 'sensations are brain processes'. In particular, they hold that mental/psychological state kinds are identical to brain/neuroscientific state kinds. In this paper, I isolate and explain some of the key features of contemporary identity theories. They are then contrasted with the main live alternatives by means of considering the two most important lines of objection to identity theories.
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