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Synthese

, Volume 196, Issue 3, pp 1187–1208 | Cite as

No microphysical causation? No problem: selective causal skepticism and the structure of completeness-based arguments for physicalism

  • Matthew C. HaugEmail author
Article
  • 107 Downloads

Abstract

A number of philosophers have argued that causation is not an objective feature of the microphysical world but rather is a perspectival phenomenon that holds only between “coarse-grained” entities such as those that figure in the special sciences. This view seems to pose a problem for arguments for physicalism that rely on the alleged causal completeness of physics. In this paper, I address this problem by arguing that the completeness of physics has two components, only one of which is causal. These two components of completeness can be used in an argument for physicalism that is supported by strong inductive evidence even in the absence of microphysical causation.

Keywords

Physicalism Causal argument Neo-Russellian theories of causation Causal completeness 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Some ideas in this paper are based on work that I completed while holding a Scholar’s Award from the National Science Foundation (SES-0957221). I am grateful for this support, and I also thank two anonymous referees for comments that improved the paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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