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Identifier 000435928
Title Causation & mental causation : A contemporary debate on mental causation issues informed by different perspectives on causation
Alternative Title Αιτιότητα & νοητική αιτιότητα
Author Μανωλά, Βιολέτα-Μαρία
Thesis advisor Τσινόρεμα, Σταυρούλα
Reviewer Τσαμαρδίνος, Ιωάννης
Ψύλλος, Στάθης
Abstract My Master thesis links our contemporary mental causation theories with the different theories of causation and tries to detect, which causal theory is applied or presupposed in each case. Explanations in philosophy of mind often help themselves to the concept of causality without, however, addressing philosophical issues about its nature. But is causation a matter of constant conjunction, probability, manipulability, energy transfer, or hidden mechanisms? And how do different concepts of causation lead to different accounts of mental causation? Mental causation is the area of philosophy of mind which offers accounts on the mind’s causal interaction with the world. Thus, a careful analysis of the concept of causation, frequently used and presupposed when philosophers link a mental state with a neural or physical state or in their explanations of human thought and behavior in general, will ultimately shed light to the mental causation debate. The thesis starts with an outline of the contemporary issues in philosophy of mind and a map of mental causation theories – from supervenience to epiphenomenalism and from emergentism to the multiple-realizability thesis.The discussion particularly focuses on the debate between reductive and non-reductive physicalism. Secondly, the thesis proceeds with a discussion of the most prominent contemporary causal theories, starting from Hume’s regularity theory and his 20th century legacy, probabilistic causation and counterfactual accounts, and continue withcausal process theories and other sophisticated mechanistic accounts, which consider causal relations as an intrinsic mechanism between the relata.Finally, in the last two sections the longed-for combination of philosophy of mind and philosophy of science is attempted. Issues discussed in the first section on mental causation are informed by the different approaches on causation, shared in the second section. Shortly, in these two last parts I examine how our choice of one causal theory contrary to another can have different outcomes in our analysis of mental causation problems. In the first of two last sections, I tackle some common mental causation problems, which arise from the embracement of a non-reductive, physicalist perspective and see how different theories of causation deal with them; whereas the final part is dealing with the consequences of adopting a reductionist view and how causal theories explicate them. In this way, the overall aim to “connect the dots” between distinct, but interconnected philosophical branches and offer a broader perspective on both mental causation issues and causation in general is succeeded.
Language English
Subject Causal theories
Mechanistic causation
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of science
Φιλοσοφία της επιστήμης
Φιλοσοφία του Νου
Issue date 2020-12-17
Collection   School/Department--School of Medicine--Department of Medicine--Post-graduate theses
  Type of Work--Post-graduate theses
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