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On Kim's critique of non-reductive physicalism
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Kim criticizes non-reductive physicalism as a suitable metaphysics of mind among things because of its failure on the issue of mental causation. The failure is especially present in the thesis of supervenience physicalism. Kim concludes that the causal powers of mental states can be reduced to the causal powers carried by the physical states realizing them. Such causal reduction might involve identity between mental properties and physical properties. I think this is not a necessary conclusion. I try to clarify some premises behind Kim’s analysis, regarding issues of irreducibility, downward causation and the structure of the physical domain. I think the main reason why Kim doubts the plausibility of non-reductive physicalism is his view that downward causation and non-reductive metaphysics indicate the physical domain being hierarchically divided into levels. It seems like Kim would take the opposite position regarding the structure of the physical: an undivided continuum. Yet, the question is if that position follows from the ontological tenet of physicalism. Finally, I conclude that not necessarily, and I develop some further implications and suggestions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 46 p.
Keyword [en]
Nonreductive physicalism, downward causation, causal closure, levels, irreducibility
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-109158OAI: diva2:855458
Subject / course
Available from: 2015-09-21 Created: 2015-09-21

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