Since the causal efficacy of conscious mental events seems undeniable, some philosophers committed to non-reductive physicalism have rejected the causal closure of the physical. Distinguishing causation proper from causal sufficiency, they argue that, in suitable circumstances, mental causes can exclude physical ones, thus preserving mental causation. Those higher-level properties stand in relations of counterfactual dependence to actions that typically mirror those of conscious mental events. A familiar line of argument proceeds from the claim that mental states and events are irreducible to physical states and events to the claim that the mental is epiphenomenal. Furthermore, by the revised exclusion principle, the neural realizer is causally excluded from being the cause of the moving of the hand. Attending to the kinds of causal laws found in neuroscience gives reason to suppose that the actual physical realizers of conscious mental events involve higher-level properties of populations of neurons that are themselves instantiated by specific neural firing patterns.
|Title of host publication
|Consciousness and the Ontology of Properties
|Taylor and Francis
|Number of pages
|Published - 1 Jan 2018
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