The Causal Closure of the Physical and Naturalism

David Papineau

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 The Causal Closure of the Physical and Naturalism

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Over the latter half of the last century English-speaking philosophy became increasingly committed to naturalistic doctrines. Much of this naturalistic turn can be attributed to the widespread acceptance of the thesis that the physical realm is causally closed. This article contains four sections. The first section offers an initial formulation of the thesis that physics is causally closed and explains its immediate implications. The second section then discusses the evidence for the thesis from a historical perspective. The third section considers ways of making the thesis properly precise. Finally, the fourth section explores the connections between the thesis and the more general issue of naturalism.

Keywords: naturalistic doctrines; physics; causal relation; naturalism; causal closure; causal–closure thesis

Article.  6131 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; Philosophy of Mind

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