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Mental Causation and Ontology$
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S. C. Gibb, E. J. Lowe, and R. D. Ingthorsson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603770

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603770.001.0001

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Mental Causation: Ontology and Patterns of Variation

Mental Causation: Ontology and Patterns of Variation

(p.88) 4 Mental Causation: Ontology and Patterns of Variation
Mental Causation and Ontology

Paul Noordhof

Oxford University Press

The paper uses two overreactions to Kim’s challenge to the efficacy of mental properties, if non-reductive physicalism is true, to motivate an alternative. According to the first, property causation involves patterns of dependency, according to the second, it is ensured by property identification. The former has problems with redundant causation, the latter with justifying the proposed property identifications—e.g. by the causal powers of one being a subset of the causal powers of the other. The former places the emphasis on inference-basing, the latter on truth-making. The recommended approach seeks to respect both by having a determination—rather than identification—condition and a generality condition which does not appeal to law. Discussion of the approach suggests a different conception of non-reductive physicalism, appealing to harmony or co-ordination.

Keywords:   property causation, non-reductive physicalism, redundant causation, property identification, causal powers, truth-making, inference-basing, non-lawful generality, co-ordination, tropes

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