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  1. Normative Explanation Unchained.Pekka Väyrynen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    [This paper is available as open access from the publisher.] Normative theories aim to explain why things have the normative features they have. This paper argues that, contrary to some plausible existing views, one important kind of normative explanations which first-order normative theories aim to formulate and defend can fail to transmit downward along chains of metaphysical determination of normative facts by non-normative facts. Normative explanation is plausibly subject to a kind of a justification condition whose satisfaction may fail to (...)
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  • Mental Causation.Sophie Gibb - 2014 - Analysis 74 (2):327-338.
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  • Moral Facts as Configuring Causes.Terence Cuneo - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):141–162.
    The overarching aim of this essay is to argue that moral realists should be "causalists" or claim that moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. To this end, I engage in two tasks. The first is to develop an account of the sense in which moral facts of certain kinds are causally efficacious. After having sketched the concept of what I call a "configuring" cause, I contend that the exercise of the moral virtues is plausibly viewed as a configuring (...)
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  • Metaphysical and Conceptual Grounding.Robert Smithson - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1501-1525.
    In this paper, I clarify the relation between two types of grounding: metaphysical and conceptual. Metaphysical grounding relates entities at more and less fundamental ontological levels. Conceptual grounding relates semantically primitive sentences and semantically derivative sentences. It is important to distinguish these relations given that both types of grounding can underwrite non-causal “in-virtue-of” claims. In this paper, I argue that conceptual and metaphysical grounding are exclusive: if a given in-virtue-of claim involves conceptual grounding, then it does not involve metaphysical grounding. (...)
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  • Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity. From Autonomy to Integration.Marchionni Caterina - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
    Philosophers of the social sciences are increasingly convinced that macro-and micro-explanations are complementary. Whereas macro-explanations are broad, micro-explanations are deep. I distinguish between weak and strong complementarity: Strongly complementary explanations improve one another when integrated, weakly complementary explanations do not. To demonstrate the explanatory autonomy of different levels of explanation, explanatory pluralists mostly presuppose the weak form of complementarity. By scrutinizing the notions of explanatory depth and breadth, I argue that macro- and micro-accounts of the same phenomenon are more often (...)
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  • Explanatory Pluralism and Complementarity: From Autonomy to Integration.Caterina Marchionni - 2008 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (3):314-333.
    Philosophers of the social sciences are increasingly convinced that macro-and micro-explanations are complementary. Whereas macro-explanations are broad, micro-explanations are deep. I distinguish between weak and strong complementarity: Strongly complementary explanations improve one another when integrated, weakly complementary explanations do not. To demonstrate the explanatory autonomy of different levels of explanation, explanatory pluralists mostly presuppose the weak form of complementarity. By scrutinizing the notions of explanatory depth and breadth, I argue that macro- and micro-accounts of the same phenomenon are more often (...)
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  • Explanation, Emergence and Causality: Comments on Crane.Michele Di Francesco - 2010 - In Graham Macdonald & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
    Tim Crane's ‘Cosmic Hermeneutics vs. Emergence: The Challenge of the Explanatory Gap’ claims that non‐reductive physicalism must either close the explanatory gap, addressing the challenge famously posed by Levine's argument, or become identical to emergentism. Since no way to close the gap is available, the result is that there can be no interesting philosophical position intermediate between physicalism and emergentism. This chapter argues that if we look at the relation between physicalism and emergentism from the vantage point of reduction, Crane's (...)
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  • Supervenient Causation and Program Explanation: A Note on the Difference.P. Coppock - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):346-354.
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  • Reply to Child.Tim Crane - 1997 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (1):103-108.
    In ‘The Mental Causation Debate’ (1995), I pointed out the parallel between the premises in some traditional arguments for physicalism and the assumptions which give rise to the problem of mental causation. I argued that the dominant contemporary version of physicalism finds mental causation problematic because it accepts the main premises of the traditional arguments, but rejects their conclusion: the identification of mental with physical causes. Moreover, the orthodox way of responding to this problem (which I call the ‘constitution view’) (...)
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  • General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.
    Philosophy is unsolved. My forthcoming book sets forth the final resolution, with some exceptions, to this 2,500 year crisis. I am currently close to finishing page 983.
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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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  • Mind Doesn’T Matter Yet.Brian Leiter & Alexander Miller - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (2):220-28.
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  • The Causal Exclusion Argument.Jesper Kallestrup - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (2):459-485.
    Jaegwon Kim's causal exclusion 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 (...)
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  • Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It.Karen Bennett - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
    The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...)
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  • Causal Relevance and Nonreductive Physicalism.Jonathan Barrett - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (3):339-62.
    It has been argued that nonreductive physicalism leads to epiphenominalism about mental properties: the view that mental events cannot cause behavioral effects by virtue of their mental properties. Recently, attempts have been made to develop accounts of causal relevance for irreducible properties to show that mental properties need not be epiphenomenal. In this paper, I primarily discuss the account of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit. I show how it can be developed to meet several obvious objections and to capture our (...)
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  • Moral Explanation.Brad Majors - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):1–15.
    Discussion of moral explanation has reached an impasse, with proponents of contemporary ethical naturalism upholding the explanatory integrity of moral facts and properties, and opponents--including both antirealists and non-naturalistic realists--insisting that such robustly explanatory pretensions as moral theory has be explained away. I propose that the key to solving the problem lies in the question whether instances of moral properties are causally efficacious. It is argued that, given the truth of contemporary ethical naturalism, moral properties are causally efficacious if the (...)
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  • In Defense of Explanatory Ecumenism: Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit.Frank Jackson - 1992 - Economics and Philosophy 8 (1):1-21.
    Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...)
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  • Determinables, Determinates, And Causal Relevance.Sven Walter - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):217-243.
    Mental causation, our mind's ability to causally affect the course of the world, is part and parcel of our ‘manifest image’ of the world. That there is mental causation is denied by virtually no one. How there can be such a thing as mental causation, however, is far from obvious. In recent years, discussions about the problem of mental causation have focused on Jaegwon Kim's so-called Causal Exclusion Argument, according to which mental events are ‘screened off’ or ‘preempted’ by physical (...)
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  • The Epistemological Approach to Mental Causation.Sven Walter - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (2):273 - 285.
    Epistemological approaches to mental causation argue that the notorious problem of mental causation as captured in the question “How can irreducible, physically realized, and potentially relational mental properties be causally efficacious in the production of physical effects?” has a very simple solution: One merely has to abandon any metaphysical considerations in favor of epistemological considerations and accept that our explanatory practice is a much better guide to causal relevance than the metaphysical reasoning carried out from the philosophical armchair. I argue (...)
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  • A Modest Proposal for Interpreting Structural Explanations.Mariam Thalos - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2):279-295.
    Social sciences face a well-known problem, which is an instance of a general problem faced as well by psychological and biological sciences: the problem of establishing their legitimate existence alongside physics. This, as will become clear, is a problem in metaphysics. I will show how a new account of structural explanations, put forward by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit, which is designed to solve this metaphysical problem with social sciences in mind, fails to treat the problem in any importantly new (...)
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  • Program Explanations and Causal Relevance.Sven Walter - 2005 - Acta Analytica 20 (36):32-47.
    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 (...)
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  • The Supervenience Argument, Overdetermination, and Causal Drainage: Assessing Kim’s Master Argument.Sven Walter - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (5):673 – 696.
    This paper examines Jaegwon Kim's Supervenience Argument (SA) against nonreductive physicalism, concentrating on Kim's response to two of the most important objections against the SA: First, the Overdetermination Argument, according to which Kim has no convincing argument against the possibility that mental causation might be a case of genuine or systematic overdetermination; second, the Generalization Argument, according to which the SA would entail that causation at any level gives way to causation at the next lower level, thereby leading to an (...)
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  • Nonreductive Physicalism and the Problem of Strong Closure.Sophie Gibb - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):29-42.
    Closure is the central premise in one of the best arguments for physicalism—the argument from causal overdetermination. According to Closure, at every time at which a physical event has a sufficient cause, it has a sufficient physical cause. This principle is standardly defended by appealing to the fact that it enjoys empirical support from numerous confirming cases (and no disconfirming cases) in physics. However, in recent literature on mental causation, attempts have been made to provide a stronger argument for it. (...)
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  • Time Enough for Explanation.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (2):61-88.
    The present paper advances an analogy between cases of extra-mathematical explanation and cases of what might be termed ‘extra-logical explanation’: the explanation of a physical fact by a logical fact. A particular case of extra-logical explanation is identified that arises in the philosophical literature on time travel. This instance of extra-logical explanation is subsequently shown to be of a piece with cases of extra-mathematical explanation. Using this analogy, we argue extra-mathematical explanation is part of a broader class of non-causal explanation. (...)
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  • Patterns, Information, and Causation.Holly Andersen - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):592-622.
    This paper articulates an account of causation as a collection of information-theoretic relationships between patterns instantiated in the causal nexus. I draw on Dennett’s account of real patterns to characterize potential causal relata as patterns with specific identification criteria and noise tolerance levels, and actual causal relata as those patterns instantiated at some spatiotemporal location in the rich causal nexus as originally developed by Salmon. I develop a representation framework using phase space to precisely characterize causal relata, including their degree (...)
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  • Interventionism for the Intentional Stance: True Believers and Their Brains.Markus I. Eronen - 2020 - Topoi 39 (1):45-55.
    The relationship between psychological states and the brain remains an unresolved issue in philosophy of psychology. One appealing solution that has been influential both in science and in philosophy is Dennett’s concept of the intentional stance, according to which beliefs and desires are real and objective phenomena, but not necessarily states of the brain. A fundamental shortcoming of this approach is that it does not seem to leave any causal role for beliefs and desires in influencing behavior. In this paper, (...)
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  • Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18.
    Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population (...)
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  • How to Tell If a Group is an Agent.Philip Pettit - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 97-121.
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  • The Emergence of Group Cognition.Georg Theiner & Tim O'Connor - 2010 - In A. Corradini & T. O'Connor (eds.), Emergence in Science and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 6--78.
    What drives much of the current philosophical interest in the idea of group cognition is its appeal to the manifestation of psychological properties—understood broadly to include states, processes, and dispositions—that are in some important yet elusive sense emergent with respect to the minds of individual group members. Our goal in this paper is to address a set of related, conditional questions: If human mentality is real yet emergent in a modest metaphysical sense only, then: (i) What would it mean for (...)
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  • Mathematical Application and the No Confirmation Thesis.Kenneth Boyce - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):11-20.
    Some proponents of the indispensability argument for mathematical realism maintain that the empirical evidence that confirms our best scientific theories and explanations also confirms their pure mathematical components. I show that the falsity of this view follows from three highly plausible theses, two of which concern the nature of mathematical application and the other the nature of empirical confirmation. The first is that the background mathematical theories suitable for use in science are conservative in the sense outlined by Hartry Field. (...)
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  • Inter-Level Relations in Computer Science, Biology, and Psychology.Fred Boogerd, Frank Bruggeman, Catholijn Jonker, Huib Looren de Jong, Allard Tamminga, Jan Treur, Hans Westerhoff & Wouter Wijngaards - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):463–471.
    Investigations into inter-level relations in computer science, biology and psychology call for an *empirical* turn in the philosophy of mind. Rather than concentrate on *a priori* discussions of inter-level relations between 'completed' sciences, a case is made for the actual study of the way inter-level relations grow out of the developing sciences. Thus, philosophical inquiries will be made more relevant to the sciences, and, more importantly, philosophical accounts of inter-level relations will be testable by confronting them with what really happens (...)
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  • Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences.
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  • Neural Synchrony and the Causal Efficacy of Consciousness.David Yates - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1057-1072.
    The purpose of this paper is to address a well-known dilemma for physicalism. If mental properties are type identical to physical properties, then their causal efficacy is secure, but at the cost of ruling out mentality in creatures very different to ourselves. On the other hand, if mental properties are multiply realizable, then all kinds of creatures can instantiate them, but then they seem to be causally redundant. The causal exclusion problem depends on the widely held principle that realized properties (...)
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  • What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.
    Certain scientific explanations of physical facts have recently been characterized as distinctively mathematical –that is, as mathematical in a different way from ordinary explanations that employ mathematics. This article identifies what it is that makes some scientific explanations distinctively mathematical and how such explanations work. These explanations are non-causal, but this does not mean that they fail to cite the explanandum’s causes, that they abstract away from detailed causal histories, or that they cite no natural laws. Rather, in these explanations, (...)
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  • Causation by Concentration.Marco J. Nathan - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):191-212.
    This essay is concerned with concentrations of entities, which play an important—albeit often overlooked—role in scientific explanation. First, I discuss an example from molecular biology to show that concentrations can play an irreducible causal role. Second, I provide a preliminary philosophical analysis of this causal role, suggesting some implications for extant theories of causation. I conclude by introducing the concept of causation by concentration, a form of statistical causation whose widespread presence throughout the sciences has been unduly neglected and which (...)
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  • The Role of Dispositions in Explanations.Agustín Vicente - 2004 - Theoria 19 (3):301-310.
    According to a model defended by some authors, dispositional predicates, or concepts, can be legitimately used in causal explanations, but such a use is not necessary. For every explanation couched in dispositional terms, there is always a better, and complete, explanation that makes use of a different vocabulary, that of categorial bases. In what follows, I will develop this view, and then argue that there is a kind of use of dispositions in explanations that does not fall within this model. (...)
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  • Moral Realism and Program Explanation.Mark T. Nelson - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):417 – 428.
    Alexander Miller has recently considered an ingenious extension of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit's account of 'program explanation' as a way of defending non-reductive naturalist versions of moral realism against Harman's explanatory criticism. Despite the ingenuity of this extension, Miller concludes that program explanation cannot help such moral realists in their attempt to defend moral properties. Specifically, he argues that such moral program explanations are dispensable from an epistemically unlimited point of view. I show that Miller's argument for this negative (...)
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  • Mathematics and the World: Explanation and Representation.John-Hamish Heron - 2017 - Dissertation, King’s College London
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  • Abstract Explanations in Science.Christopher Pincock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):857-882.
    This article focuses on a case that expert practitioners count as an explanation: a mathematical account of Plateau’s laws for soap films. I argue that this example falls into a class of explanations that I call abstract explanations.explanations involve an appeal to a more abstract entity than the state of affairs being explained. I show that the abstract entity need not be causally relevant to the explanandum for its features to be explanatorily relevant. However, it remains unclear how to unify (...)
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  • Troubles with the Canberra Plan.Panu Raatikainen - 2020 - Synthese 1.
    A popular approach in philosophy, the so-called Canberra Plan, is critically scrutinized. Two aspects of this research program, the formal and the informal program, are distinguished. It is argued that the formal program runs up against certain serious technical problems. It is also argued that the informal program involves an unclear leap at its core. Consequently, it is argued that the whole program is much more problematic than its advocates recognize.
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  • The Narrow Ontic Counterfactual Account of Distinctively Mathematical Explanation.Mark Povich - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz008.
    An account of distinctively mathematical explanation (DME) should satisfy three desiderata: it should account for the modal import of some DMEs; it should distinguish uses of mathematics in explanation that are distinctively mathematical from those that are not (Baron [2016]); and it should also account for the directionality of DMEs (Craver and Povich [2017]). Baron’s (forthcoming) deductive-mathematical account, because it is modelled on the deductive-nomological account, is unlikely to satisfy these desiderata. I provide a counterfactual account of DME, the Narrow (...)
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  • The Location Problem in Social Ontology.Frank Hindriks - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):413-437.
    Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their members (...)
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  • Group Agency, Responsibility, and Control.Anders Strand - 2013 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (2):201-224.
    Understanding how individual agency and group agency relate is of great importance for a range of philosophical and practical concerns, including responsibility ascription and institutional design. This article discusses the relation between corporate and individual responsibility in agency—in particular, the relation between corporate and individual control of actions. First, I criticize Christian List and Philip Pettit’s causal account of combined corporate and individual control. Second, I develop an alternative account in terms of structural control, and I show how this gives (...)
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  • Causal Compatibilism -- What Chance?Jack Ritchie - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):119-132.
    Orthodox physicalism has a problem with mental causation. If physics is complete and mental events are not identical to physical events (as multiple-realisation arguments imply) it seems as though there is no causal work for the mental to do. This paper examines some recent attempts to overcome this problem by analysing causation in terms of counterfactuals or conditional probabilities. It is argued that these solutions cannot simultaneously capture the force of the completeness of physics and make room for mental causation.
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  • The Causal Efficacy of Mental States.Peter Menzies - 2003 - In Sven Walter & Heinz-Dieter Heckmann (eds.), Physicalism and Mental Causation. Imprint Academic. pp. 195--223.
    You are asked to call out the letters on a chart during an eyeexamination: you see and then read out the letters ‘U’, ‘R’, and ‘X’. Commonsense says that your perceptual experiences causally control your calling out the letters. Or suppose you are playing a game of chess intent on winning: you plan your strategy and move your chess pieces accordingly. Again, commonsense says that your intentions and plans causally control your moving the chess pieces. These causal judgements are as (...)
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  • Functionalism, Causation and Causal Relevance.Kirk A. Ludwig - 1998 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 4.
    causal relevance, a three-place relation between event types, and circumstances, and argue for a logical independence condition on properties standing in the causal relevance relation relative to circumstances. In section 3, I apply these results to show that functionally defined states are not causally relevant to the output or state transitions in terms of which they are defined. In section 4, I extend this result to what that output in turn causes and to intervening mechanisms. In section 5, I examine (...)
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  • Mental Causation.Karen Bennett - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):316-337.
    Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
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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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  • Independence of Variables in Mental Causation.John Campbell - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):64-79.
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  • Platonic Relations and Mathematical Explanations.Robert Knowles - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I argue that the success of this argument rests on the claim that mathematical explanations locate pure mathematical facts on which their physical explananda depend, and that any account of mathematical explanation that supports this claim fails to provide an adequate understanding of mathematical explanation.
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