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Understanding Human Agency$
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Erasmus Mayr

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606214.001.0001

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Are agent-causal powers reducible to microproperties?

Are agent-causal powers reducible to microproperties?

(p.233) 9 Are agent-causal powers reducible to microproperties?
Understanding Human Agency

Erasmus Mayr

Oxford University Press

Even if powers are not reducible to non-power properties, still a human agent's abilities to act might be reducible to microproperties, which would leave the agent himself devoid of a truly causal role. This worry is addressed by arguing that the human agent's abilities to act are systemic emergent properties, which are not reducible to the possession of microproperties by his parts. It is further shown that Jaegwon Kim's argument about downward causation does not establish that the agent's active powers must be epiphenomal.

Keywords:   systemic properties, emergent properties, microproperties, downward causation, epiphenomenalism, Jaegwon Kim

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