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Durham e-Theses
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The chances of higher-level causation:
an investigation into causal exclusion arguments

KERTESZ, GERGELY (2019) The chances of higher-level causation:
an investigation into causal exclusion arguments.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (original PDF accepted without corrections) - Accepted Version


It is well-known that non-reductive physicalism suffers from internal tensions between physicalist and antireductionist commitments. This thesis reconstructs Jaegwon Kim’s classic causal exclusion arguments that aim to demonstrate the tension between the putative causal autonomy of multiply realized higher-level properties and basic commitments of physicalism and investigates some solutions that aim to dissolve the paradox highlighted by exclusion worries.
The main goal of this thesis is to appraise a solution, developed by Menzies and List, according to which, while the causation of an effect via a higher-level realized property is possible, it is incompatible with the causation of the same effect by a distinct realizing property. On this incompatibilist view causal exclusion is a contingent matter and can be directed both downwards and upwards, but it presupposes a difference-making account of causation. On the one hand, the thesis provides justification for preferring a difference-making account of causation over productive accounts presupposed by Kim’s exclusion argument, on the other hand, it develops internal criticism against the approach suggested by Menzies and List.
Two strands of original arguments are formulated against this view. First, it is shown that downwards exclusion claims rest on the tacit assumption that realization and multiple realization can be modeled on the determinable-determinate relation, a premise explicitly rejected by Menzies. Independent arguments are also developed against this premise. It is shown that if the premise is unavailable Menzies has no viable argument for the claim that lower-level realizer properties cannot be proper causes of an outcome when it is also caused by the relevant realized property. Second, it is argued that higher-level causal autonomy is much less likely to occur than Menzies and List claimed it to be and inter-level causal compatibility is a lively option in the incompatibilist framework they developed.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Causal exclusion argument; Peter Menzies; Jeagwon Kim
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Aug 2019 13:09

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