AdvisorSartorio, Ana Carolina
Paul, Laurie A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractI develop a solution to the causal exclusion problem and explore its implications for a broader metaphysics of causation. In a series of three papers, I show that standard approaches to the exclusion problem are inadequate, that the solution to the problem lies not in causation but in the overlooked phenomena of contribution, and that contribution grounds a new kind of theory of causation. In "Trouble with intimacy," I show that the standard solution to the exclusion problem is inadequate. The problem is traditionally framed in terms of causal overdetermination. It charges that (i) if mental events are not identical to their physical realizers, they systematically overdetermine their common effects and (ii) such effects are not overdetermined. Critics often deny (i), claiming that mental events and their realizers are too intimately related to be overdetermining causes. I develop a class of cases that undermine this response. These cases show two things. First, mental events and their realizers overdetermine at least some of their effects. Second, overdetermination is not essential to the exclusion problem. In "Causal contribution and causal exclusion," I develop a solution to the exclusion problem. The exclusion problem is a symptom of our failure to attend not just to causation, but to the conceptually more basic notion of contribution -- the influence that an event has on future states of the world independently of other events. I develop an account of contribution as a constraint on what world states may obtain in an event's wake. The solution to the exclusion problem lies in the relation between the contributions of mental events and those of their realizers. In "Regularity as a form of constraint," I present the groundwork for a new type of regularity theory of causation. Traditional regularity theories have been much too liberal: they entail a wealth of causal relationships that do not exist. We can correct this by grounding regularity/entailment relations in contributions. Traditional regularity theories fail because they identify causation with entailment by a non-redundant sufficient condition. This new breed of regularity theory succeeds by identifying causation with entailment via a minimally restrictive contribution.
Degree ProgramGraduate College