The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 5, 2007

Logic and Philosophy of the Sciences

Manuel Liz Gutiérrez
Pages 87-93

Enabling Relations As a Way to Transfer Causal Sufficiency

There are important cases where properties not referred to by expressions from the languages of physics are enabled in certain times and circumstances to get causal control over some kinds of physical events. I will argue that in those cases we would have to transfer to those properties the causal sufficiency to bring about these events. This would offer a principle of causal inheritance in sharp contrast with the inheritance principle for the causal sufficiency of second order properties defended by Jaegwon Kim in his recent discussion of the causal exclusion problem concerning mental properties. The two principles would be very different. Their domains of application would be distinct. Kim's principle would transfer causal sufficiency to the more "concrete" physical properties able to realize mental properties understood as second order properties. Our principle would transfer causal sufficiency to the more "general" properties able to cause the relevant physical effects in the times and circumstances in question. That way, it would be possible to give a quite simple answer to the problem of causal exclusion posed by Kim in relation to mental properties. Our approach also would have very important consequences in relation to ordinary macrophysical causation.