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Personal AgencyThe Metaphysics of Mind and Action$
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E. J. Lowe

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217144.001.0001

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Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism

Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism

(p.41) 2 Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism
Personal Agency

E. J. Lowe (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Looking at a wide range of causal closure principles of differing strengths, this chapter argues that the stronger principles are less plausible than the weaker while the weaker are less capable of playing an adequate role in any causal closure argument for physicalism. The upshot is that there is plenty of scope for a psychophysical dualist to accept a moderately strong principle of physical causal closure while also advocating a genuine and autonomous causal role for mental states in the genesis of intended physical behaviour. Such a dualist may consistently espouse a form of emergentism in the philosophy of mind, according to which non-physical mental states are causally autonomous and yet are themselves ultimately the products of prior physical evolution.

Keywords:   dualism, mental states, physicalism, causal closure argument

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