Volume 25, Issue 3, September 2010
Questioning the Causal Inheritance Principle
Mental causation, though a forceful intuition embedded in our commonsense psychology, is difficult to square with the rest of commitments of physicalism about the mind. Advocates of mental causation have found solace in the causal inheritance principle, according to which the mental properties of mental states
share the causal powers of their physical counterparts. In this paper, I present a variety of counterarguments to causal inheritance and conclude that the conditions for causal inheritance are stricter than what standing versions of said principle imply. In line with this, physicalism may be destined to epiphenomenalism unless multiple realizability turns out false.