Chapter

Tropes and mental causation

Douglas Ehring

in Tropes

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608539
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729607 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608539.003.0006
Tropes and mental causation

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In this chapter, it is argued that if properties are tropes, then we can help solve the two main problems of mental causation. The first problem of mental causation concerns the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world, and the second concerns the possibility of mental causes being efficacious in virtue of their mental properties in such a world. It is argued that a widely discussed account of the relation between mental and physical property types, according to which mental property types are determinables of the physical property types that realize them, fails. An alternative account of that relationship is proposed, according to which mental tropes that have physical effects are themselves physical tropes and that the physical types that realize mental types are sub-classes or parts of those mental types. The latter part–whole relation at the type-level leaves room for the causal relevancy of the mental types under which mental causes fall, despite the causal relevancy of the physical types under which they also fall.

Keywords: Mental; Physical; Causation; Part–Whole; Token; Type

Chapter.  21978 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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