Chapter

Are agent-causal powers reducible to microproperties?

Erasmus Mayr

in Understanding Human Agency

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606214
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731631 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606214.003.0010
Are agent-causal powers reducible to microproperties?

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Even if powers are not reducible to non-power properties, still a human agent's abilities to act might be reducible to microproperties, which would leave the agent himself devoid of a truly causal role. This worry is addressed by arguing that the human agent's abilities to act are systemic emergent properties, which are not reducible to the possession of microproperties by his parts. It is further shown that Jaegwon Kim's argument about downward causation does not establish that the agent's active powers must be epiphenomal.

Keywords: systemic properties; emergent properties; microproperties; downward causation; epiphenomenalism; Jaegwon Kim

Chapter.  8100 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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