Non Reductive Physicalism

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'Can non reductive physicalism solve the problem of mental causation?' Mental causation is one of the most discussed topics in the contemporary philosophy of mind. The question roughly goes as follows: how it is possible that a mental agent or event produces a change in the series of physical events? It just becomes more mysterious if we take into account that the physical world is looked upon by many as a closed and self-determined world which contains nothing like irreducible mental properties. On the other hand mental causation and agency is one of our evident experiences, as familiar as the physical-mental or mental-mental causal relations. I have a feeling that my desire to raise my arm produces the effect that my armisgoing up in the…show more content…
(Crane 2001b, p. 44.) The difference can also be expressed by distinguishing two views: one that holds that everything is physical, the other, in turn, that there are also some non-physical things that are constituted by physical ones. (Crane 1995, p. 212.) Of course, a lot depends on how someone understands the constitution relation. At any rate, souls have not been mentioned in physical theories since the birth of the modern science. However broad is physicalism in contrast to materialism, many felt that it is still too narrow. Based on the multiple realizability thesis (according to which different physical events or states might cause the same mental events of states) they challenged the reductionist forms of physicalism. They, instead of returning to substance-dualism, adopted the view of non-reductive physicalism which holds (to put it simply) that there are properties, namely the mental ones, which are not physical or reducible to themin a strict sense, but distinct from them and/or emergent on the physical. If these mental states are really emergent ones and not reducible to physical factors, as Crane argues for it, then they seem to provide no solution to…show more content…
(Crane 2001b, p. 1) By emergent properties he means nothing else than having causal powers that are independent of the object’s causal powers from which the emergent properties emerge. Crane neatly characterizes non-reductive physicalism by two features: distinctness and dependence. According to the former the mental properties are different from the physical, but, according to the latter, they depend on them. (Crane 2001b, p. 2.) In this sense it is a midway between dualism and type- or token-identity physicalism which takes the mental properties to be identical to physical ones. However, it tries to differentiate itself from emergentism too, because emergentism, in contrast to how the non-reductive physicalists tend to see their view, construes the laws of the higher level properties just as basic and unexplainable as the physical ones concerning the lower level properties. The non-reductive physicalists argue that this contention cannot be accepted by any physicalist. According to Horgan, for example, not only the physical closure is a necessary condition of being a physicalist, but also the view that all ‘unexplained explainers’ ultimately need to be facts or laws of the physics (Horgan 1993, p.

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