Embedded Cognition and Mental Causation: Setting Empirical Bounds on Metaphysics

Authors: Keijzer, Fred1; Schouten, Maurice2

Source: Synthese, Volume 158, Number 1, September 2007 , pp. 109-125(17)

Publisher: Springer

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In this paper, we challenge Jaegwon Kim’s version of neural reductionism according to which the causal powers of mental properties are pre-empted by those of neural properties. Using empirical and theoretical developments from the field of embedded cognition, we articulate and defend a notion of process externalism that extends Clark and Chalmers’ notion of an extended mind. We argue that process externalism undermines one of Kim’s key premises leading to the alternative conclusion that mental causation cannot be reduced to neural causation. Instead, mental properties have their own new causal powers just like other scientifically established macroproperties.

Keywords: Embedded cognition; Externalism; Kim; Mental causation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-006-9053-9

Affiliations: 1: Email: f.a.keijzer@rug.nl 2: Email: m.k.d.schouten@uvt.nl

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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