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The Re-Emergence of EmergenceThe Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion$
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Philip Clayton and Paul Davies

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199544318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544318.001.0001

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Emergence and Mental Causation

Emergence and Mental Causation

(p.227) 10 Emergence and Mental Causation
The Re-Emergence of Emergence

Nancey Murphy

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the question of how emergent mental events or properties can have ‘downward’ causal efficacy without violating the causal closure of the physical world. It claims that ‘emergence’ needs to be defined in terms of the denial of causal reductionism. Causal antireductionism amounts to the affirmation of top-down or downward causation. The discussion defines ‘downward causation’ in terms of the selection among lower-level causal processes on the basis of their higher-level properties. The mental properties of events have an irreducible role to play in causal processes, in that it is only by virtue of the supervenient mental properties that neural processes become subject to the selective pressures of the environment.

Keywords:   mental causation, causal reduction, downward causation, neural processes, causal reductionism

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