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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 53, Issue 4, December 2013

Daniel F. Lim
Pages 353-369

Causal Exclusion and Overdetermination

Jaegwon Kim argues that if mental properties are irreducible with respect to physical properties, then mental properties are epiphenomenal. I believe that this conditional is false and argue that mental properties, along with their physical counterparts, may causally overdetermine their effects. Kim contends, however, that embracing causal overdetermination in the mental case should be resisted for at least three reasons: (1) it is implausible, (2) it makes mental properties causally dispensable, and (3) it violates the Causal Closure Principle. I believe, however, that each of these reasons can be defeated. Moreover, further reflection on (3), according to Kim’s implicit logic, may lend support to the claim that physical properties, and not mental properties, are in danger of losing their causal relevance.

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