Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism

E. J. Lowe

in Personal Agency

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199217144
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191712418 | DOI:
 Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism

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Looking at a wide range of causal closure principles of differing strengths, this chapter argues that the stronger principles are less plausible than the weaker while the weaker are less capable of playing an adequate role in any causal closure argument for physicalism. The upshot is that there is plenty of scope for a psychophysical dualist to accept a moderately strong principle of physical causal closure while also advocating a genuine and autonomous causal role for mental states in the genesis of intended physical behaviour. Such a dualist may consistently espouse a form of emergentism in the philosophy of mind, according to which non-physical mental states are causally autonomous and yet are themselves ultimately the products of prior physical evolution.

Keywords: dualism; mental states; physicalism; causal closure argument

Chapter.  6890 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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