Mental causation and the supervenience argument

Erkenntnis 67 (2):221 - 237 (2007)
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One of several problems concerning the possibility of mental causation is that the causal potential of a supervenient property seems to be absorbed by its supervenience base if that base and the supervenient property are not identical. If the causal powers of the supervenient property are a proper subset of the causal powers of the supervenience base then, according to the causal individuation of properties, the supervenience base seems to do all the causal work and the supervenient property appears to be futile. Against this consequence it is possible to argue, first, that the relevant properties of causes must be in some sense proportional to the relevant properties of their effects and, second, that the principle of causal closure serving as a premise in the supervenience argument is probably false. The constraint that the relevant properties of causes should be proportional to the relevant properties of their effects together with the falsity of the closure principle leads to a restoration of the causal efficacy of supervenient properties.



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