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Ordinary Objects$
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Amie L. Thomasson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195319910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319910.001.0001

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 Problems of Causal Redundancy

 Problems of Causal Redundancy

Chapter:
(p.9) One. Problems of Causal Redundancy
Source:
Ordinary Objects
Author(s):

Amie L. Thomasson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319910.003.0002

Causal redundancy arguments allege that all the causal work attributed to ordinary macroscopic objects is really performed (jointly) by their microscopic parts, making ordinary objects epiphenomenal. Trenton Merricks holds that this shows there are no such things, since, if there were ordinary objects such as baseballs, they would be causally efficacious. It is argued, however, that Merricks' argument is either invalid or unsound, depending on how one understands “overdetermination”. This chapter makes the case that standard prohibitions against overdetermination do not apply where there are analytic entailments between the causal claims, so we can accept the causal claims of, for example, a baseball and of simples arranged baseballwise, without them being rivals in claims to causal efficacy or yielding redundant “double causation”.

Keywords:   Trenton Merricks, overdetermination, epiphenomenalism, analytic entailment

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