Chapter

Causation and the Mental

Peter van Inwagen

in Reason, Metaphysics, and Mind

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199766864
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932184 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199766864.003.0014
Causation and the Mental

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This paper concerns the results of combining two sets of metaphysical theses. The theses in the first set belong to ontology in the most general sense. They can be summed up in these words: everything is either a substance or a relation (attributes being unary relations and propositions being “0-ary” relations); relations are abstract objects and, therefore, do not enter into causal relations. (Note that it follows from the first thesis that there are no events, because an event would be neither a substance nor a relation.) The second set of theses has to do with causation. They may be summarized as follows: although there are many causal relations—and although there are causal explanations—there is no such relation as “causation;” all causal relations hold between substances. When these two sets of metaphysical theses are combined, they can be seen to have important implications for the philosophy of mind.

Keywords: Jaegwon Kim; mind; consciousness; causality; mental causation

Chapter.  9789 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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