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Mental Causation, Autonomy and Action Theory

  • Dwayne MooreEmail author
Original Research


Nonreductive physicalism states that actions have sufficient physical causes and distinct mental causes. Nonreductive physicalism has recently faced the exclusion problem, according to which the single sufficient physical cause excludes the mental causes from causal efficacy. Autonomists respond by stating that while mental-to-physical causation fails, mental-to-mental causation persists. Several recent philosophers establish this autonomy result via similar models of causation (Pernu, Erkenntnis 81(5):1031–1049, 2016; Zhong, J Philos 111(7):341–360, 2014). In this paper I argue that both of these autonomist models fail on account of the problem of Edwards’s Dictum. However, I appeal to foundational principles of action theory to resuscitate mental-to-mental causation in a manner that is consistent with the models of causation endorsed by these autonomists.



I would like to thank the anonymous referees at this journal for their valuable comments and suggestions that greatly improved this paper. I would also like to thank the audience members and commentators at the 2018 Western Canadian Philosophical Association Meeting, the 2019 Canadian Philosophical Association Meeting, and the 2019 Central American Philosophical Association Meeting.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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