Interventionism and Supervenience: A New Problem and Provisional Solution

Eronen, M. I. & Brooks, D. S., 2014, In : International Studies in the Philosophy of Science. 28, 2, p. 185-202 18 p.

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The causal exclusion argument suggests that mental causes are excluded in favour of the underlying physical causes that do all the causal work. Recently, a debate has emerged concerning the possibility of avoiding this conclusion by adopting Woodward's interventionist theory of causation. Both proponents and opponents of the interventionist solution crucially rely on the notion of supervenience when formulating their positions. In this article, we consider the relation between interventionism and supervenience in detail and argue that importing supervenience relations into the interventionist framework is deeply problematic. However, rather than reject interventionist solutions to exclusion wholesale, we wish to propose that the problem lies with the concept of supervenience. This would open the door for a moderate defence of the interventionist solution to the exclusion argument.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes



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