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Part-Whole Physicalism and Mental Causation

Douglas Ehring
Synthese
Vol. 136, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 359-388
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118340
Page Count: 30
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Part-Whole Physicalism and Mental Causation
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Abstract

A well-known "overdetermination" argument aims to show that the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world and the possibility of causally relevant mental properties are both problematic. In the first part of this paper, I extend an identity reply that has been given to the first problem to a property-instance account of causal relata. In the second, I argue that mental types are composed of physical types and, as a consequence, both mental and physical types may be causally relevant with respect to the same physical effect, contrary to the overdetermination argument. In further sections, I argue that mental types have causal powers, consider some objections and reject an alternative version of part-whole physicalism. Throughout I assume that causal relata are tropes and property types are classes of tropes.

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