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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2021

Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible

Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible

(p.126) 5 Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible
Mental Causation and Ontology

David Papineau

Oxford University Press

This paper argues that causal processes are not physically fundamental, but akin to thermodynamic processes, hinging on probabilistic distributions over the way macro-properties can be realized. This view is consonant with recent arguments that causes must be ‘proportional’ to their effects, and that macro-properties can therefore out-compete their micro-realizers as causes of certain effects. However, this does not vindicate the Fodorian thought that ‘variably realized’ non-physical properties can be causes. In cases where macro-properties do cause effects in their own right, they are always macroscopic physical properties.

Keywords:   causation, thermodynamics, proportionality, fodor, realization

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