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Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle

List, Christian and Menzies, Peter (2008) Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle. [Preprint]

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Abstract

It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higher-level property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as difference-making to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is a contingent matter and derive necessary and sufficient conditions under which a version of it holds. We argue that one important instance of the principle, far from undermining non-reductive physicalism, actually supports the causal autonomy of certain higher-level properties.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
List, Christian
Menzies, Peter
Keywords: causation, non-reductive physicalism, supervenience, exclusion principle, difference-making
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Depositing User: Christian List
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:17
Item ID: 4322
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4322

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