The Exclusion Problem Meets the Problem of Many Causes

Erkenntnis 73 (1):55-65 (2010)
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Abstract

In this paper I develop a novel response to the exclusion problem. I argue that the nature of the events in the causally complete physical domain raises the “problem of many causes”: there will typically be countless simultaneous low-level physical events in that domain that are causally sufficient for any given high-level physical event. This shows that even reductive physicalists must admit that the version of the exclusion principle used to pose the exclusion problem against non-reductive physicalism is too strong. The burden is on proponents of the exclusion problem to provide a reason to think that any qualifications placed on the exclusion principle will solve the problem of many causes while ruling out causation by irreducible mental events.

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Matthew Haug
William & Mary

Citations of this work

Counterfactuals, Overdetermination and Mental Causation.Simona Aimar - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):469-477.
Mental causation and neuroscience: The semantic pruning model.José Manuel Muñoz - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (3):379-399.

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References found in this work

Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Mental causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
The rise of physicalism.David Papineau - 2000 - In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.). Cambridge University Press.
The Problem of the Many.Peter Unger - 1980 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):411-468.

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