Minds and Machines

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 331–347

The Overdetermination Argument Revisited

  • Agustín Vicente
Article

Abstract

In this paper I discuss a famous argument for physicalism – which some authors indeed regard as the only argument for it – the “overdetermination argument”. In fact it is an argument that does not establish that all the entities in the world are physical, but that all those events that enter into causal transactions with the physical world are physical. As mental events seem to cause changes in the physical world, the mind is one of those things that fall within the scope of the argument. Here I analyze one response to the overdetermination argument that has acquired some popularity lately, and which consists in saying that what mental events cause are not physical effects. I try to show that recent attempts to develop this response are not successful, but that there may be a coherent way of doing so. I also try to show that there seems to be a philosophical “niche” in which this way might fit.

dual explanandum strategy mental causation overdetermination argument physicalism 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Antony, L. and Levine, J. (1997), Reduction with Autonomy, Philosophical Perspectives 11, pp. 83–107.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, D. (1997), A World of States of Affairs, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, L.R. (1995), Explaining Attitudes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baker, L.R. (2000), Persons and Bodies. A Constitution View, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, A. (1997), Being There: Putting Mind, Brain and Body Together Again, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, A. and Chalmers, D. (1998), The Extended Mind, Analysis 58, pp. 7–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crane, T. and Mellor, H. (1990), There Is No Question of Physicalism, Mind 99, pp. 185–206.Google Scholar
  8. Fodor, J. (1974), Special Sciences, or the Disunity of the World as a Working Hypothesis, Synthese 28, pp. 97–115.Google Scholar
  9. Hornsby, J. (1997), Simple Mindedness: In Defense of a Naive Naturalism in the Philosophy of Mind, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kim, J. (1993), Supervenience and Mind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kim, J. (1998), Mind in a Physical World, Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Levine, J. (2001), Purple Haze: the Puzzle of Consciousness, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Malcolm, N. (1968), The Conceivability of Mechanism, The Philosophical Review 77, pp. 45–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Marras, A. (1998), Kim's Principle of Explanatory Exclusion, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76, pp. 439–451.Google Scholar
  15. Matthews, R.J. (1998), Review of Simple Mindedness: In Defense of a Naive Naturalism in the Philosophy of Mindby Jennifer Hornsby, Mind 107, pp. 890–894.Google Scholar
  16. Millikan, R. (1993), Explanation in Biopsychology, in White Queen Psychology and Other Essays for Alice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Papineau, D. (1990), Why Supervenience? Analysis 50, pp. 66–71.Google Scholar
  18. Papineau, D. (2000), The Rise of Physicalism, in M. Stone and J. Wolff, eds., The Proper Ambition of Science, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Peacocke, C. (1979), Holistic Explanation, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  20. Sturgeon, S. (1998), Physicalism and Overdetermination, Mind 107, pp. 411–433.Google Scholar
  21. Sturgeon, S. (1999), Conceptual Gaps and Odd Possibilities, Mind 108, pp. 377–380.Google Scholar
  22. Reuter,M. (1999),Merleau-Ponty's Notion of Pre-Reflective Intentionality, Synthese 118, pp. 69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wilson, R.A. (1995), Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Yablo, S. (1992), Cause and Essence, Synthese 93, pp. 403–449.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agustín Vicente
    • 1
  1. 1.Dpto. de Filosofía, Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia, Facultad de Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain

Personalised recommendations