Volume 28, Issue 1, Spring 2023
Christian Philosophy and Its Challenges
Kim and the Pairing Problem for Dualism
In Defense of a Thomistic Dualist Substance Ontology of Agent Causation
Jaegwon Kim’s pairing problem argument asserts that causal intersections require two pairing entities. Mental properties of souls being distinct are causally irrelevant since they are not reducible to physical properties. Because souls are non-spatial physical entities, they do not enter into paired causal relations. Thus, souls or irreducible mental causal interaction, is false. The author assesses and argues against Kim’s pairing problem for substance dualism. Kim assumes that reality is fundamentally a physical one. Thus, the metaphysics of persons and causality is a strict physical one. The author argues from a Thomistic dualists view and a powers ontology perspective to show that agentive causality is fundamental. Lastly, physicalists have not given an adequate account of various mental states and its properties such as knowledge, phenomenal properties and free will which are subjective in nature and therefore known by the first-person point of view. Since physicalism fails to give an adequate account of the nature of consciousness and its possessor, it follows that physicalism is false. Since physicalism is false, Kim’s argument against substance dualism is also false. The paper concludes that one is justified in holding to substance dualism and the coherence of mental causation.