Acta Analytica

, 17:69

First online:

A “no causal rivalry” solution to the problem of mental causation

  • Anthony DardisAffiliated withPhilosophy/104 Heger Hall, 115 Hofstra University

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Stephen Yablo has recently argued for a novel solution to the mental causation problem: the mental is related to the physical as determinables are related to determinates; determinables are not causal rivals with their determinates; so the mental and the physical are not causal rivals. Despite its attractions the suggestion seems hard to accept. In this paper I develop the idea that mental properties and physical properties are not causal rivals. Start with property dualism, supervenience, multiple realizability, and the claim that no more than one supervenience base for a mental property can be had by a single instance of the mental property. Then a probabilistic account of causation will be unable to certify either mental properties or physical properties as causal factors for effect types. I suggest that this shows that we should not count mental properties as causal rivals with physical properties.


Mental causation Probabilistic causation Supervenience Mind/Body Problem Non-reductive physicalism