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Epiphenomenal Properties

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What is an epiphenomenal property? This question needs to be settled before we can decide whether higher-level properties are epiphenomenal or not. In this paper, I offer an account of what it is for a property to have some causal power. From this, I derive a characterization of the notion of an epiphenomenal property. I then argue that physically realized higher-level properties are not epiphenomenal, because laws of nature impose causal similarities on the bearers of such properties, and these similarities figure as powers in the causal profiles of these properties.
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Keywords: causal powers; epiphenomenal properties; higher-level causation; laws of nature; physicalism; realization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Glasgow,

Publication date: 03 July 2018

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