Do Causal Powers Drain Away?
Author: Block, Ned
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1 July 2003, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 133-150(18)
Abstract:No one has contributed as much to our understanding of the problems of mental causation in recent years as Jaegwon Kim. We non-reductive materialists must face up to the serious difficulties he has raised for our position.1 In this note, I will discuss one issue concerning the main argument of Mind in a Physical World (Kim, 1998), the Causal Exclusion Argument. The issue is whether it is a consequence of the Causal Exclusion Argument that all macro level causation (that is, causation above the level of fundamental physics) is an illusion, with all of the apparent causal powers of mental and other macro properties draining into the bottom level of physics. I will argue that such a consequence would give us reason to reject the Causal Exclusion Argument. But there is also a stronger challenge, the charge that, if there is no bottom level of physics, the Causal Exclusion Argument has the consequence that "causal powers would drain away into a bottomless pit and there wouldn't be any causation anywhere." (81 - page numbers that are not attributed to other works are to Kim, 1998)
Document Type: Research Article