Jonardon Ganeri

in The Self

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652365
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740718 | DOI:

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This chapter distinguishes between emergentist and epiphenomenalist strands in early Cārvāka theory, and demonstrates that Cārvāka emergentists are committed to supervenience. Emergentism seeks simultaneously to respect the idea that the mental is dependent on the physical and that it has causal autonomy with respect to it. These find expression in emergentism's commitment to a supervenience thesis and an irreducibility thesis. The leading idea in discussions about emergence is that systems of appropriate organisational complexity have causal powers which the components in the system, whether individually or together, do not. Jaegwon Kim has argued that the two key issues for the development of emergentism as a viable theory of mind are to give a positive characterisation of the relation of emergence, beyond the mere denial of reducibility, and to solve the problem of downward causation, otherwise known as the exclusion problem. This is the problem that an instantiation of the supervenience base is apparently a sufficient cause for any effect attributed to an instantiation of the supervening properties. One seems forced to choose between reductionism and epiphenomenalism: genuinely novel emergent causal power is excluded.

Keywords: emergentism; supervenience; Cārvāka; epiphenomenalism; Kim

Chapter.  5752 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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