Philosophia 48 (2):673-707 (2019)

Authors
J. Brian Pitts
Cambridge University
Abstract
Since Leibniz's time, Cartesian mental causation has been criticized for violating the conservation of energy and momentum. Many dualist responses clearly fail. But conservation laws have important neglected features generally undermining the objection. Conservation is _local_, holding first not for the universe, but for everywhere separately. The energy in any volume changes only due to what flows through the boundaries. Constant total energy holds if the global summing-up of local conservation laws converges; it probably doesn't in reality. Energy conservation holds if there is symmetry, the sameness of the laws over time. Thus, if there are time-places where symmetries fail due to nonphysical influence, conservation laws fail there and then, while holding elsewhere, such as refrigerators and stars. Noether's converse first theorem shows that conservation laws imply symmetries. Thus conservation trivially nearly entails the causal closure of the physical. But expecting conservation to hold in the brain simply assumes the falsehood of Cartesianism. Hence Leibniz's objection begs the question. Empirical neuroscience is another matter. So is Einstein's General Relativity: far from providing a loophole, General Relativity makes mental causation _harder_.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-019-00102-7
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.

View all 169 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Dualism.Howard Robinson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries.Marc Lange - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
Conservation Laws and Interactionist Dualism.Ben White - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):387–405.
Are Conservation Laws Metaphysically Necessary?Johanna Wolff - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):898-906.
The Energy of the Universe.F. I. Cooperstock & M. Israelit - 1995 - Foundations of Physics 25 (4):631-635.
Wavefunction Collapse and Conservation Laws.Philip Pearle - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (8):1145-1160.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-07-21

Total views
86 ( #135,467 of 2,507,560 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #90,502 of 2,507,560 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes