Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 7, pp 1735–1748 | Cite as

Transformation emergence, enactive co-emergence, and the causal exclusion problem

  • Richard WuEmail author


In The Self: Naturalism, Consciousness and the First-Person Stance (Oxford University Press 2012), Jonardon Ganeri draws on the ancient Indian Cārvāka philosophy to delineate a “transformation” account of strong emergence, and argues that the account adequately addresses the well-known “causal exclusion problem” formulated by Kim (Supervenience and mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993; Mind in a physical world: an essay on the mind-body problem and mental causation. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1998; Philos Stud 95:3–36, 1999; Synthese 151:547–559, 2006). Ganeri moreover suggests that the transformation account is superior to the enactive account of emergence, developed by Francisco Varela and Evan Thompson (Varela et al. in Embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1991; Thompson and Varela in Trends Cogn Sci 5:418–425, 2001; Thompson in Mind in life: biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of mind. Belknap Press, Cambridge, 2007) for the latter merely “sidesteps” the exclusion problem (Ganeri in The self: naturalism, consciousness, and the first-person stance. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012: ch. 4, footnote 9). In this commentary, presented in an “author meets critics” panel at the Pacific APA 2016, I suggest that, contrary to Ganeri’s claim, the enactive account does not merely sidestep the causal exclusion problem—the response the enactive account can offer is actually highly similar to the response offered by the transformation account.


Emergence Cārvāka Enactivism Mind Causation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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