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Mental causation, or something near enough

In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 243--64 (2007)

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  1. Vertical Versus Horizontal: What is Really at Issue in the Exclusion Problem?John Donaldson - 2019 - Synthese:1-16.
    I outline two ways of reading what is at issue in the exclusion problem faced by non-reductive physicalism, the “vertical” versus “horizontal”, and argue that the vertical reading is to be preferred to the horizontal. I discuss the implications: that those who have pursued solutions to the horizontal reading of the problem have taken a wrong turn.
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  • Causal Properties and Conservative Reduction.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    The paper argues in favour of a causal-functional theory of all properties including the physical ones and a conception of properties as tropes or modes in the sense of particular ways that objects are. It shows how these premises open up a version of functionalism according to which the properties on which the special sciences focus are identical with configurations of physical properties and thereby causally efficacious without there being any threat of eliminativism.
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  • The Metaphysics of Science and Aim-Oriented Empiricism: A Revolution for Science and Philosophy.Nicholas Maxwell - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
    This book gives an account of work that I have done over a period of decades that sets out to solve two fundamental problems of philosophy: the mind-body problem and the problem of induction. Remarkably, these revolutionary contributions to philosophy turn out to have dramatic implications for a wide range of issues outside philosophy itself, most notably for the capacity of humanity to resolve current grave global problems and make progress towards a better, wiser world. A key element of the (...)
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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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  • No Microphysical Causation? No Problem: Selective Causal Skepticism and the Structure of Completeness-Based Arguments for Physicalism.Matthew C. Haug - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1187-1208.
    A number of philosophers have argued that causation is not an objective feature of the microphysical world but rather is a perspectival phenomenon that holds only between “coarse-grained” entities such as those that figure in the special sciences. This view seems to pose a problem for arguments for physicalism that rely on the alleged causal completeness of physics. In this paper, I address this problem by arguing that the completeness of physics has two components, only one of which is causal. (...)
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  • Dualism and its Place in a Philosophical Structure for Psychiatry.Hane Htut Maung - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (1):59-69.
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  • A Simple Argument for Downward Causation.Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):841-858.
    Instances of many supervenient properties have physical effects. In particular, instances of mental properties have physical effects if non-reductive physicalism is true. This follows by a straightforward argument that assumes a counterfactual criterion for causation. The paper presents that argument and discusses several issues that arise from it. In particular, the paper addresses the worry that the argument shows too many supervenient property-instances to have physical effects. The argument is also compared to a similar argument that has been suggested by (...)
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  • The Cost of Forfeiting Causal Inheritance.Justin T. Tiehen - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):491-507.
    Jaegwon Kim’s causal inheritance principle says that the causal powers of a mental property instance are identical with the causal powers of its particular physical realizer. Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization is at odds with Kim’s principle: it says that a mental property instance has fewer causal powers than Kim’s principle entails. In this paper, I argue that the subset account should be rejected because it has intolerable consequences for mental causation, consequences that are avoided by accepting causal inheritance. (...)
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  • Why the Counterfactualist Should Still Worry About Downward Causation.Lei Zhong - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):159-171.
    In Zhong (Philos Phenomenol Res 83:129–147, 2011; Analysis 72:75–85, 2012), I argued that, contrary to what many people might expect, the counterfactual theory of causation will generate (rather than solve) the exclusion problem. Recently some philosophers raise an incisive objection to this argument. They contend that my argument fails as it equivocates between different notions of a physical realizer (see Christensen and Kallestrup in Analysis 72:513–517, 2012). However, I find that their criticism doesn’t threaten the central idea of my view. (...)
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  • Counterfactual Causation and Mental Causation.Jens Harbecke - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):363-385.
    Counterfactual conditionals have been appealed to in various ways to show how the mind can be causally efficacious. However, it has often been overestimated what the truth of certain counterfactuals actually indicates about causation. The paper first identifies four approaches that seem to commit precisely this mistake. The arguments discussed involve erroneous assumptions about the connection of counterfactual dependence and genuine causation, as well as a disregard of the requisite evaluation conditions of counterfactuals. In a second step, the paper uses (...)
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  • Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  • Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals.Tuomas Pernu - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1031-1049.
    One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion 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 (...)
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  • Kim’s Dilemma: Why Mental Causation is Not Productive.Andrew Russo - 2015 - Synthese.
    Barry Loewer (2001, 2002, 2007) has argued that the nonreductive physicalist should respond to the exclusion problem by endorsing the overdetermination entailed by their view. Jaegwon Kim’s (2005, 2007) argument against this reply is based on the premise that mental causation is a productive relation involving the “flow” or “transfer” of some conserved quantity from cause to effect. In this paper, I challenge this premise by appealing to the underlying double prevention structure of the physiological mechanisms of human action. Since (...)
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  • Mind in a Humean World.Jens Harbecke - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):213-229.
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  • Pluralistic Physicalism and the Causal Exclusion Argument.Markus Eronen - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (2):219-232.
    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 (...)
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  • Necessary Connections in Context.Alex Kaiserman - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):45-64.
    This paper combines the ancient idea that causes necessitate their effects with Angelika Kratzer’s semantics of modality. On the resulting view, causal claims quantify over restricted domains of possible worlds determined by two contextually determined parameters. I argue that this view can explain a number of otherwise puzzling features of the way we use and evaluate causal language, including the difference between causing an effect and being a cause of it, the sensitivity of causal judgements to normative facts, and the (...)
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  • Causal Overdetermination for Humeans?Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (2):99-104.
    The paper argues against systematic overdetermination being an acceptable solution to the problem of mental causation within a Humean counterfactual theory of causation. The truth-makers of the counterfactuals in question include laws of nature, and there are laws that support physical to physical counterfactuals, but no laws in the same sense that support mental to physical counterfactuals.
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  • Rendering Interventionism and Non‐Reductive Physicalism Compatible.Michael Baumgartner - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (1):1-27.
    In recent years, the debate on the problem of causal exclusion has seen an ‘interventionist turn’. Numerous non-reductive physicalists (e.g. Shapiro and Sober 2007) have argued that Woodward's (2003) interventionist theory of causation provides a means to empirically establish the existence of non-reducible mental-to-physical causation. By contrast, Baumgartner (2010) has presented an interventionist exclusion argument showing that interventionism is in fact incompatible with non-reductive physicalism. In response, a number of revised versions of interventionism have been suggested that are compatible with (...)
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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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  • Reduction Without Elimination: Mental Disorders as Causally Efficacious Properties.Gottfried Vosgerau & Patrice Soom - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):311-330.
    We argue that any account of mental disorders that meets the desideratum of assigning causal efficacy to mental disorders faces the so-called “causal exclusion problem”. We argue that fully reductive accounts solve this problem but run into the problem of multiple realizability. Recently advocated symptom-network approaches avoid the problem of multiple realizability, but they also run into the causal exclusion problem. Based on a critical analysis of these accounts, we will present our own account according to which mental disorders are (...)
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  • Overdetermination and Elimination.Steinvör Thöll Árnadóttir - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):479-503.
    I focus on two arguments, due to Jaegwon Kim and Trenton Merricks, that move from claims about the sufficiency of one class of causes to the reduction or elimination of another class of entity, via claims about overdetermination. I argue that in order to validate their move from sufficiency to reduction or elimination, both Kim and Merricks must assume that there can be no ‘weak overdetermination’; i.e., that no single effect can have numerically distinct but dependently sufficient causes occurring at (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Determination and the Metaphysics of Neuroscience.Patrice Soom - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (3):655-664.
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  • Mechanisms, Determination and the Metaphysics of Neuroscience.Patrice Soom - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (3):655-664.
    In this paper, I evaluate recently defended mechanistic accounts of the unity of neuroscience from a metaphysical point of view. Considering the mechanistic framework in general , I argue that explanations of this kind are essentially reductive . The reductive character of mechanistic explanations provides a sufficiency criterion, according to which the mechanism underlying a certain phenomenon is sufficient for the latter. Thus, the concept of supervenience can be used in order to describe the relation between mechanisms and phenomena . (...)
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  • Overdetermination Underdetermined.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
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  • The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  • Why is There Anything Except Physics?Barry Loewer - 2009 - Synthese 170 (2):217 - 233.
    In the course of defending his view of the relation between the special sciences and physics from Jaegwon Kim’s objections Jerry Fodor asks “So then, why is there anything except physics?” By which he seems to mean to ask if physics is fundamental and complete in its domain how can there be autonomous special science laws. Fodor wavers between epistemological and metaphysical understandings of the autonomy of the special sciences. In my paper I draw out the metaphysical construal of his (...)
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  • On the Distinction Between Cause-Cause Exclusion and Cause-Supervenience Exclusion.Jens Harbecke - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (2):209-238.
    This paper is concerned with the connection between the causal exclusion argument and the supervenience argument and, in particular, with two exclusion principles that figure prominently in these arguments. Our aim is, first, to reconstruct the dialectics of the two arguments by formalizing them and by relating them to an anti-physicalist argument by Scott Sturgeon. In a second step, we assess the conclusiveness of the two arguments. We demonstrate that the conclusion of both the causal exclusion argument and the supervenience (...)
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