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Doings and Subject Causation

Martine Nida-Rümelin
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 67, No. 2, Mental Causation, Externalism and Self-Knowledge (Sep., 2007), pp. 255-272
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27667928
Page Count: 18
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Doings and Subject Causation
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Abstract

In the center of this paper is a phenomenological claim: we experience ourselves in our own doings and we experience others when we perceive them in their doings as active in the sense of being a cause of the corresponding physical event. These experiences are fundamental to the way we view ourselves and others. It is therefore desirable for any philosophical theory to be compatible with the content of these experiences and thus to avoid the attribution of radical and permanent error to human experience. A theory of 'subject causation' according to which the active subject continuously and simultaneously causes physical changes is sketched. This account is—according to the phenomenological claim defended—compatible with the content of our daily experiences in doing something and in observing others in their doings and it has a number of further more theoretical advantages: it does not touch the autonomy of neurophysiology and it is compatible with a thesis of supervenience of the mental on the physical. It does however require a weak version of subject-body dualism.

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