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Mental Causation and Ontology$
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S. C. Gibb, E. J. Lowe, and R. D. Ingthorsson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603770

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603770.001.0001

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Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible

Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible

Chapter:
(p.126) 5 Causation is Macroscopic but Not Irreducible
Source:
Mental Causation and Ontology
Author(s):

David Papineau

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603770.003.0006

This paper argues that causal processes are not physically fundamental, but akin to thermodynamic processes, hinging on probabilistic distributions over the way macro-properties can be realized. This view is consonant with recent arguments that causes must be ‘proportional’ to their effects, and that macro-properties can therefore out-compete their micro-realizers as causes of certain effects. However, this does not vindicate the Fodorian thought that ‘variably realized’ non-physical properties can be causes. In cases where macro-properties do cause effects in their own right, they are always macroscopic physical properties.

Keywords:   causation, thermodynamics, proportionality, fodor, realization

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