J. Kim’s exclusion argument and the problem of mental causation

15 June, 2018

Volkov D.
First pub. in: Вестник Московского университета. Серия 7: Философия. 2016. № 6. С. 15-32.

The exclusion argument by J. Kim undermines the possibility of mental causation. But belief in mental causation is one of the foundations of interpersonal relations. This contradiction is at the core of the problem of mental causation. The author analyzes Kim’s exclusion argument and makes the following conclusions. First, the same argument can target not only the mental causation but also causal efficacy of high-order properties, including those specified by the special sciences. This alone can be considered reduction ad absurdum of Kim’s argument. Second, it is possible to propose counterexamples to the argument – situations in which high-order properties obviously play a causal role. One of those counter examples is presented by the author of this paper – a thought experiment “The library of ancient tractates”. Both of these considerations support the claim that Kim’s argument is false and does not threaten the mental causation.

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