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The Causal Exclusion Problem


Dwayne Moore

In The Causal Exclusion Problem, the popular strategy of abandoning any one of the principles constituting the causal exclusion problem is considered, but ultimately rejected. The metaphysical foundations undergirding the causal exclusion problem are then explored, revealing that the causal exclusion problem cannot be dislodged by undermining its metaphysical foundations – as some are in the habit of doing. Finally, the significant difficulties associated with the bevy of contemporary nonreductive solutions, from supervenience to emergentism, are expanded upon. While conducting this survey of contemporary options, however, two novel approaches are introduced, both of which may resolve the causal exclusion problem from within a nonreductive physicalist paradigm.
The Causal Exclusion Problem, which relentlessly motivates the vexing causal exclusion problem and exhaustively surveys its metaphysical assumptions and contemporary responses, is ideal for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course in the philosophy of mind.
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Chapter Seven: Causal Exclusion and Mereological Systems

← 137 | 138 → ← 138 | 139 → CHAPTER SEVEN


In Chapter Five, the metaphysics of causation was considered in detail, since the causal exclusion problem is a problem pertaining to the causal efficacy of physical causes, mental causes and plausible constraints on causation. In Chapter Six, metaphysics of properties and events was likewise probed, since the causal exclusion problem takes mental and physical phenomena to be events or property instantiations. Similarly, this chapter, which is devoted to the metaphysics of mereological systems, is also essential background to the causal exclusion problem. This is the case because the relation between mental causes and physical causes is often considered a mereological relation. A careful analysis of the metaphysics of mereology, therefore, opens up fresh difficulties and fresh solutions to the causal exclusion problem.

This chapter is divided into four sections. First, I outline the fundamental components of mereological systems (§1). With this taxonomy in mind, I consider a radical implication of the causal exclusion problem—the threat that the causal exclusion problem is not isolated to the mental/physical domain, but that it generalizes, or applies, to all special science domains (§2). After demonstrating that reductive solutions fail to solve the generalization problem, I introduce some pertinent mereological principles that contribute to the nonreductive solution to the generalization problem, and indeed the causal exclusion problem, presented in the final chapters of this book (§3). I then consider a lingering objection to the Joint Causation Solution (§4).

Mereology, from the Greek méros = part, is the study of the...

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