On an Alleged Loophole in Causal Closure: A Reply to Gamper


This paper intends to critically consider the idea put forward by Johan Gamper (Philosophia 45: 631–636, 2017) that the principle of causal closure can be reconciled with the possibility of pluralism. This idea is based on redefining causal closure and on the introduction of so-called interfaces between the universes. By reconstructing and analyzing the author's argumentative steps, we will try to show that this approach is methodologically and explanatory unfounded. Firstly, this way of redefining the principle of causal closure is inconsistent with the very reasons why this principle was introduced. Secondly, the proposed view does not bring the explanatory benefits it promises, that is, it cannot solve difficulties such as the problem of the first cause. Moreover, the position itself produces many additional concerns and perplexities that remain unresolved. The conclusion of our analysis is that certain aspects of the proposed position may be sustainable and plausible, but only if novel arguments should be offered.

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  1. 1.

    The same is the case with two opposing ontological frameworks, one of which would be based on the traditional physicalistic principle of causal closure and the other on Gamper's modified version. These two principles might imply completely different ontologies. The first that physical cannot have other causes or consequences than physical ones, and that even if there were other universes, they would not interact with the physical. The second principle implies that there might be interfaces through which interaction of the physical universe with other universes is allowed.

  2. 2.

    Since the proposed loophole is indispensable for his argumentation, Gamper frequently refers to his position as the loophole view.


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Correspondence to Andrea Berber.

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Berber, A., Đorđević, S. On an Alleged Loophole in Causal Closure: A Reply to Gamper. Philosophia (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-021-00361-3

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  • Interface
  • Causal closure
  • First cause problem
  • Loophole causal closure
  • Scientific ontology