The Argument from Mental Causation and the Possibility of Physicalism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


[The paper argues that the argument from mental causation (and more specifically, its physiologically inspired version) is not—as it stands—an effective argument in favor of physicalism. On the (ontologically neutral) assumption that mental events are unique in virtue of some of their characteristics, the proponent of this argument cannot conclude from the scientifically established claim regarding the control of physics over most segments of physiological chains that other segments of those chains—those that involve mental events—are also completely controlled by physics, and thus that those segments do not involve non-physical parts (that is, that the mental events that they involve are physical). So the argument from mental causation needs to be supplemented. Such a supplementation, it is argued, is provided by naturalistic accounts of the "problematic" mental characteristics (characteristics such as phenomenality, intentionality, and various epistemic characteristics), which shrink their uniqueness to being a matter of degree. If such accounts indeed leave out nothing of those characteristics, then events with those characteristics can be realized physically. The argument from mental causation shows that indeed they are.]
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
Journalעיון: רבעון פילוסופי
StatePublished - 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'The Argument from Mental Causation and the Possibility of Physicalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this