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4.7c. The Exclusion Problem (The Exclusion Problem on PhilPapers)

Ney, Alyssa (2007). Can an appeal to constitution solve the exclusion problem? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (4):486–506.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Jaegwon Kim has argued that unless mental events are reducible to subvening physical events, they are at best overdeterminers of their effects. Recently, nonreductive physicalists have endorsed this consequence claiming that the relationship between mental events and their physical bases is tight enough to render any such overdetermination nonredundant, and hence benign. I focus on instances of this strategy that appeal to the notion of constitution. Ultimately, I argue that there is no way to understand the relationship between irreducible mental events and their physical bases such as to both eliminate causal redundancy and preserve the efficacy of mental events
Austin, James W. (1980). Wittgenstein's solutions to the color exclusion problem. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (September-December):142-149.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Bennett, Karen (2003). Why the exclusion problem seems intractable and how, just maybe, to tract it. Noûs 37 (3):471-97.   (Cited by 22 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all the work, and there is nothing left for the mental to do
Bregant, Janez (2004). Van Gulick's solution of the exclusion problem revisited. Acta Analytica 19 (33):83-94.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in our everyday actions and beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mental realism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept
Campos, Manuel (1995). Kim on the exclusion problem. Philosophical Issues 6:167-70.   (Google | More links)
Gibb, Sophie C. (2009). Explanatory exclusion and causal exclusion. Erkenntnis 71 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: Given Kim’s principle of explanatory exclusion (EE), it follows that in addition to the problem of mental causation, dualism faces a problem of mental explanation. However, the plausibility of EE rests upon the acceptance of a further principle concerning the individuation of explanation (EI). The two methods of defending EI—either by combining an internal account of the individuation of explanation with a semantical account of properties or by accepting an external account of the individuation of explanation—are both metaphysically implausible. This is not, however, to reject the problem of mental explanation, for EE can be replaced with a far weaker principle, which does not require the acceptance of EI, but which generates a similar problem for dualism
Haug, Matthew C. (2010). The exclusion problem meets the problem of many causes. Erkenntnis 73 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I develop a novel response to the exclusion problem. I argue that the nature of the events in the causally complete physical domain raises the “problem of many causes”: there will typically be countless simultaneous low-level physical events in that domain that are causally sufficient for any given high-level physical event (like a window breaking or an arm raising). This shows that even reductive physicalists must admit that the version of the exclusion principle used to pose the exclusion problem against non-reductive physicalism is too strong. The burden is on proponents of the exclusion problem to provide a reason to think that any qualifications placed on the exclusion principle will solve the problem of many causes while ruling out causation by irreducible mental events
Haug, Matthew C. (2009). Two Kinds of Completeness and the Uses (and Abuses) of Exclusion Principles. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):379-401.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that the completeness of physics is composed of two distinct claims. The first is the commonly made claim that, roughly, every physical event is completely causally determined by physical events. The second has rarely, if ever, been explicitly stated in the literature and is the claim that microphysics provides a complete inventory of the fundamental categories that constitute both the causal features and intrinsic nature of all the events that causally affect the physical universe. After showing that these claims are distinct, I argue that they can be used to solve a difficulty with existing responses to the exclusion problem—namely, that these existing responses also undermine the powerful causal argument for physicalism. Recognizing that there are two kinds of completeness opens up room for the nonreductive physicalist to solve the exclusion problem while also endorsing a modified, cogent causal argument for a kind of physicalism compatible with her position.
Horgan, Terence E. (2001). Causal compatibilism and the exclusion problem. Theoria 16 (40):95-116.   (Cited by 22 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Terry Horgan University of Memphis In this paper I address the problem of causal exclusion, specifically as it arises for mental properties (although the scope of the discussion is more general, being applicable to other kinds of putatively causal properties that are not identical to narrowly physical causal properties, i.e., causal properties posited by physics). I summarize my own current position on the matter, and I offer a defense of this position. I draw upon and synthesize relevant discussions in various <blockquote> [1] </blockquote> other papers of mine (some collaborative) that bear on this topic
Horgan, Terry (2007). Mental causation and the agent-exclusion problem. Erkenntnis 67 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The hypothesis of the mental state-causation of behavior (the MSC hypothesis) asserts that the behaviors we classify as actions are caused by certain mental states. A principal reason often given for trying to secure the truth of the MSC hypothesis is that doing so is allegedly required to vindicate our belief in our own agency. I argue that the project of vindicating agency needs to be seriously reconceived, as does the relation between this project and the MSC hypothesis. Vindication requires addressing what I call the agent-exclusion problem: the prima facie incompatibility between the intentional content of agentive experience and certain metaphysical hypotheses often espoused in philosophy
Kallestrup, Jesper (2006). The causal exclusion argument. Philosophical Studies 131 (2):459-85.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Jaegwon Kim’s causal exclusion argument says that if all physical effects have sufficient physical causes, and no physical effects are caused twice over by distinct physical and mental causes, there cannot be any irreducible mental causes. In addition, Kim has argued that the nonreductive physicalist must give up completeness, and embrace the possibility of downward causation. This paper argues first that this extra argument relies on a principle of property individuation, which the nonreductive physicalist need not accept, and second that once we get clear on overdetermination, there is a way to reject the exclusion principle upon which the causal exclusion argument depends, but third that this should not lead to the belief that mental causation is easily accounted for in terms of counterfactual dependencies
List, Christian & Menzies, Peter (2009). Nonreductive physicalism and the limits of the exclusion principle. Journal of Philosophy 106 (9).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higher-level property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as difference-making to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is a contingent matter and derive necessary and sufficient conditions under which a version of it holds. We argue that one important instance of the principle, far from undermining non-reductive physicalism, actually supports the causal autonomy of certain higher-level properties
Menzies, Peter (2008). The exclusion problem, the determination relation, and contrastive causation. In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
O'Connor, Timothy & Theiner, Georg (2002). Review of Paul Pietroski, Causing Actions. The Philosophical Review 111:291-294.   (Google)
Raatikainen, Panu, Causation, exclusion, and the special sciences.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The issue of downward causation (and mental causation in particular), and the exclusion problem is discussed by taking into account some recent advances in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. It is argued that from this viewpoint, a higher-level (e.g., mental) state can sometimes truly be causally relevant, and moreover, that the underlying physical state which realizes it may fail to be such
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.
Robb, David (1997). The properties of mental causation. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):178-94.   (Cited by 28 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Recent discussions of mental causation have focused on three principles: (1) Mental properties are (sometimes) causally relevant to physical effects; (2) mental properties are not physical properties; (3) every physical event has in its causal history only physical events and physical properties. Since these principles seem to be inconsistent, solutions have focused on rejecting one or more of them. But I argue that, in spite of appearances, (1)–(3) are not inconsistent. The reason is that 'properties' is used in different senses in the principles. In (1) and (3), 'properties' should be read as 'tropes' (properties here are particulars), while in (2) 'properties' should read as 'types' (properties here are universals or classes). Although mental types are distinct from physical types, every mental trope is a physical trope. This allows mental properties to be causally relevant to physical effects without violating the closed character of the physical world.
Segal, Gabriel M. A. (2009). The causal inefficacy of content. Mind and Language 24 (1):80-102.   (Google)
Abstract: Abstract: The paper begins with the assumption that psychological event tokens are identical to or constituted from physical events. It then articulates a familiar apparent problem concerning the causal role of psychological properties. If they do not reduce to physical properties, then either they must be epiphenomenal or any effects they cause must also be caused by physical properties, and hence be overdetermined. It then argues that both epiphenomenalism and over-determinationism are prima facie perfectly reasonable and relatively unproblematic views. The paper proceeds to argue against Kim's ( Kim, 2000, 2005 ) attempt to articulate a plausible version of reductionism. It is then argued that psychological properties, along with paradigmatically causally efficacious macro-properties, such as toughness, are causally inefficacious in respect of their possessor's typical effects, because they are insufficiently distinct from those effects. It is finally suggested that the distinction between epiphenomenalism and overdeterminationism may be more terminological than real
Vicente, Agustin (1999). Vertical dependencies and the exclusion problem. In La Filosofia Analitica En El Cambio de Milenio. Santiago de Compostela.   (Google)
Weslake, Brad (ms). Exclusion Excluded.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that an independently attractive account of causation and causal explanation provides a principled resolution of the exclusion problem.