Reply to Noordhof on Mental Causation
Abstract:In my paper ‘The Properties of Mental Causation’, PQ, 47 (1997), pp. 178–94. I proposed (as others have) a trope-based solution to a problem of mental causation. Noordhof in PQ, 48 (1998), pp. 221–6, has objected that the solution raises new problems just as intractable as the original. Some of his criticisms are based on misunderstandings of the role of tropes in the theory and of my general aim. He does, however, usefully develop an objection I addressed briefly in my paper: even if the trope solution explains how mental properties are causally relevant, does it explain how they are relevant qua mental? That is, does the problem appear again at the level of tropes? This kind of objection can be raised against any proposed solution to the problem, but it depends on the questionable assumption that properties themselves have properties. Noordhof also insists that the trope solution must provide a criterion of trope identity, but this is, I argue, a red herring in this context.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Davidson College
Publication date: January 1, 2001