Eliminativism, interventionism and the Overdetermination Argument

Philosophical Studies 164 (2):321-340 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In trying to establish the view that there are no non-living macrophysical objects, Trenton Merricks has produced an influential argument—the Overdetermination Argument—against the causal efficacy of composite objects. A serious problem for the Overdetermination Argument is the ambiguity in the notion of overdetermination that is being employed, which is due to the fact that Merricks does not provide any theory of causation to support his claims. Once we adopt a plausible theory of causation, viz. interventionism, problems with the Overdetermination will become evident. After laying out the Overdetermination Argument and examining one extant objection to it, I will explicate the relevant aspects of an interventionist theory of causation and provide a characterization of overdetermination that follows from such an account. From this, I will argue that the Causal Principle that undergirds the Overdetermination Argument is false and hence the argument is invalid; and I claim that the only other available characterization of overdetermination would render a key premise in the argument false. Thus, the Overdetermination Argument fails to provide us with any reason to deny the causal efficacy of macrophysical objects, and therefore provides no reason to doubt their existence

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,252

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The overdetermination argument revisited.Agustín Vicente - 2004 - Minds and Machines 14 (3):331-47.
Three varieties of causal overdetermination.Eric Funkhouser - 2002 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (4):335-351.
An unstable eliminativism.John W. Carroll & William R. Carter - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):1–17.
On the causal completeness of physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
The overdetermination argument against eliminativism.Charles M. Hermes - 2006 - Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (1):113-119.
Locating the overdetermination problem.D. G. Witmer - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):273-286.
Constitutive Overdetermination.L. A. Paul - 2007 - In J. K. Campbell, M. O'Rourke & H. S. Silverstein (eds.), Causation and Explanation. MIT Press. pp. 4--265.
Counterfactuals, Overdetermination and Mental Causation.Simona Aimar - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):469-477.
Subset realization, parthood, and causal overdetermination.Kevin Morris - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (3):363-379.
Overdetermination And The Exclusion Problem.Brandon Carey - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):251-262.
Exclusion, overdetermination, and the nature of causation.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:261-282.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-01-20

Downloads
265 (#72,943)

6 months
24 (#110,977)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Eric Yang
Santa Clara University

Citations of this work

Interventionism and Causal Exclusion.James Woodward - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):303-347.
Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Unrestricted animalism and the too many candidates problem.Eric Yang - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):635-652.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

View all 60 references / Add more references