Questioning the causal inheritance principle



Published 27-09-2010
Ivar Allan Hannikainen


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 requirements 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.


How to Cite

Hannikainen, I. A. (2010). Questioning the causal inheritance principle. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 25(3), 261–277.
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mental causation, exclusion problem, physicalism, Kim, supervenience.