Mental Causation, Autonomy and Action Theory

Erkenntnis 87 (1):53-73 (2022)
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Abstract

Nonreductive physicalism states that actions have sufficient physical causes and distinct mental causes. Nonreductive physicalism has recently faced the exclusion problem, according to which the single sufficient physical cause excludes the mental causes from causal efficacy. Autonomists respond by stating that while mental-to-physical causation fails, mental-to-mental causation persists. Several recent philosophers establish this autonomy result via similar models of causation :1031–1049, 2016; Zhong, J Philos 111:341–360, 2014). In this paper I argue that both of these autonomist models fail on account of the problem of Edwards’s Dictum. However, I appeal to foundational principles of action theory to resuscitate mental-to-mental causation in a manner that is consistent with the models of causation endorsed by these autonomists.

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Dwayne Moore
University of Saskatchewan

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