Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 73, Issue 2, September 2006

Nick Zangwill
Pages 253-289

Daydreams and Anarchy
A Defense of Anomalous Mental Causation

Must mental properties figure in psychological causal laws if they are causally efficacious? And do those psychological causal laws give the essence of mental properties? Contrary to the prevailing consensus, I argue that, on the usual conception of laws that is in play in these debates, there are in fact lawless causally efficacious properties both in and out of the philosophy of mind. I argue that this makes a great difference to the philosophical relevance of empirical psychology. I begin by making the case that revolutions and hurricanes are lawless phenomena, before arguing for a similar thesis about creativity, love, courage, dreams, daydreams, and musings. Furthermore, the empirical research on thesc phenomena suggests that the philosophical issues may be independent of what empirical psychology can tell us.