Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):56-69 (2022)
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Abstract

The Causal Exclusion Problem is raised in many domains, including in the metaphysics of macroscopic objects. If there is a complete explanation of macroscopic effects in terms of the microscopic entities that compose macroscopic objects, then the efficacy of the macroscopic will be threatened with exclusion. I argue that we can avoid the problem if we accept that macroscopic objects are ontically vague. Then, it is indeterminate which collection of microscopic entities compose them, and so information about microscopic entities is insufficient to provide a complete explanation of certain properties of macroscopic objects. After outlining this solution, I consider several objections.

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Kenneth Silver
Trinity College, Dublin

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