Philosophical Studies

, Volume 165, Issue 2, pp 491–507 | Cite as

The cost of forfeiting causal inheritance

  • Justin Thomas TiehenEmail author


Jaegwon Kim’s causal inheritance principle says that the causal powers of a mental property instance are identical with the causal powers of its particular physical realizer. Sydney Shoemaker’s subset account of realization is at odds with Kim’s principle: it says that a mental property instance has fewer causal powers than Kim’s principle entails. In this paper, I argue that the subset account should be rejected because it has intolerable consequences for mental causation, consequences that are avoided by accepting causal inheritance. I develop my argument in part by drawing on one of the central debates that has arisen regarding the extended mind hypothesis defended by Andy Clark and David Chalmers.


Mental causation Causal inheritance Realization Subset account Extended mind 



For discussions of these issues, I would like to thank Christian Loew, Gerald Vision, Alyssa Ney, Jaegwon Kim, and the members of the 2009 NEH Seminar on Mind and Metaphysics, led by John Heil at Washington University in St. Louis.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Puget SoundTacomaUSA

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