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4.7a. Anomalous Monism and Mental Causation (Anomalous Monism and Mental Causation on PhilPapers)

Macdonald, Cynthia (2006). 'The Metaphysics of Mental Causation'. The Journal of Philosophy 103 (11):539-576.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular content (that it is getting dark), and a believing with a particular content (that by switching on the light I could continue reading) occurred in me, and these events caused my switching on of the light. This explanation works by citing the intentional contents of mental phenomena as causes of that action. It is because the intentional causes have the contents that they do, and because those contents play a causal role in bringing about my action, that my action is causally explained
Nathan, N. M. L. (1981). On an argument of Peacocke's about physicalism and counterfactuals. Analysis 41 (3):124-125.   (Google)
Robb, David & Heil, John (online). Mental Causation. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: Worries about mental causation are prominent in contemporary discussions of the mind and human agency. Originally, the problem of mental causation was that of understanding how a mental substance (thought to be immaterial) could interact with a material substance, a body. Most philosophers nowadays repudiate immaterial minds, but the problem of mental causation has not gone away. Instead, focus has shifted to mental properties. How could mental properties be causally relevant to bodily behavior? How could something mental qua mental cause what it does? After looking at the traditional Problem of Interaction, we survey various versions of the property-based problem and look at proposed solutions to them.