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Emergence in Mind$
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Cynthia Macdonald and Graham Macdonald

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583621.001.0001

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Emergence and Downward Causation

Emergence and Downward Causation

Chapter:
(p.139) 10 Emergence and Downward Causation
Source:
Emergence in Mind
Author(s):

Cynthia Macdonald (Contributor Webpage)

Graham Macdonald (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583621.003.0010

The principal charge against any emergentist account of the nature of mind is that it leads to incoherence because it is committed to ‘downward’ causation, and it is this charge that this chapter aims to defeat by appeal to a specific metaphysics of mental causation. Section 1 characterizes some important versions of the doctrine of emergentism. Section 2 develops the challenge anti‐emergentists set for advocates of strong emergence, that of demonstrating how emergent properties can be causally effective. Section 3 sets the authors proposal for dealing with the challenge. Section 4 outlines and develops a principled argument against the objection from ‘downward causation’, dismantling the objection by appealing to the already developed metaphysics. Section 5 defends the authors' position against objections from opponents and argues against the opposing strategy.

Keywords:   non‐reductive physicalism, property exemplification account, downward causation, higher‐level causation, causal relevance, psychological explanation, supervenience, realization

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