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Dispositional interactive dualism

Janko Nešić
nesicjanko@gmail.com

Dualism in the Twenty-First Century


CEU, Budapest, 6-8th December 2018
The mental causation problem

apparent inconsistency of 4 plausible claims:


• (1) Relevance: Mental events are causally relevant in the
physical domain.
• (2) Closure: Every physical event contains only other physical
events in its transitive causal closure.
• (3) Exclusion: As a general rule, events are not causally
overdetermined.
• (4) Distinctness: Mental events are not physical events.
Powers theory of causation
(Mumford 1998; Molnar 2003; Mumford, Anjum 2011 )

• Dispositions are not just statistical regularities about behavior, there is an


intrinsic property
• disposition to dissolve in water - manifestation is dissolving in water
• powers get their identity from manifestations (manifestation-types)
• Vector model of powers (Mumford, Anjum 2011)
• the component powers and the resultant power

• Double prevention is the instance of counterfactual dependence without


causation
Gibb’s account of mental causation
• the role of mental events in the physical domain is making the fact that a
causal tree of neural events converge upon a particular bodily movement non-
coincidental (Lowe 2008, ch. 3)

• mental events as double preventers (Gibb 2013)


• Difference between a role of causing an event and role of
permitting an event to be caused

• Mental event permits a bodily movement (physical event) to be


caused by preventing another mental event that would have
prevented a neurological event from causing the movement
• Does it preserve Closure?
• Libet`s (1985) experiments
• „n0 is the neurological event that marks the onset of the readiness
potential that initiates the chain of physical events that give rise to
Fred’s hand’s moving“
• „A mental event permits the motor outcome by permitting a
neurological event to cause the motor outcome. It permits this causal
relation by preventing a further mental event from preventing this
causal relation“ (Gibb 2013, 210)
• free won`t
• No mention of the agent/self
• Phenomenologically unsound
Lowe’s interactive dualism
• Substance causation (individual substances)

Powers can be:


• active - whose characteristic manifestation never needs to be ‘triggered
• passive - whose manifestation or exercise always needs to be caused by one
or more substances acting on its bearer (needs to be ‘triggered’ or
‘stimulated’)
• causal - whose manifestation or ‘exercise’ consists in its bearer’s acting on
one or more other individual substances
• non-causal
• There are powers which are both active and non-causal
- radium’s power of spontaneous radioactive decay
Lowe’s interactive dualism
• Will is a „two-way“ power - to will or to refrain from willing
• It is a spontaneous rational power
• Acts of will or volitions – but with different intentional contents
• This kind of dualism is insconsistent with causal closure

• An agent doesn’t need some power over his will, agent simply
exercises his will (Lowe 2013, 157-167)
• Agent causalists say that human agents possess a special power to cause their
own volitions or intentions not by doing anything but simply in virtue of being a
cause of them

• agents can only cause anything by acting in some way (Lowe)

• „I exercise or manifest my power of will, the exercise consists in my willing to do


something, such as raise my arm“
Freedom of action

• „agents have an ‘originating’ role in their own actions,


inasmuch as causal chains leading to their voluntary
bodily movements begin, by my account, with an
agent’s uncaused exercise of his or her will“
(Lowe 2013, 163)
Agentive phenomenology
• Lack of insight from first-person phenomenology of agency (Horgan et al. 2003,
Horgan 2007)

• Self as source

• the mental state-causation of behavior (The MSC hypothesis): the claim that the
behaviors we classify as actions are caused by certain mental states

• agentive phenomenology presents one’s behavior to oneself as caused by


oneself—and does not present it as being caused by mental states of oneself
• The phenomenal character of actions typically includes aspects of
purposiveness and voluntariness

• „you experience yourself as freely performing the action, in the sense that
it is up to you whether or not to perform it“ (Horgan 2007, 189)

• phenomenology of voluntarily exerting one’s will is only one case of


phenomenology of voluntariness

• distinctive phenomenology of will (related with phenomenology of trying)


Thank you!
Literature:

• Gibb, S. C. (2009), “Explanatory Exclusion and Causal Exclusion”, Erkenntnis 71 (2):205-221.


• Gibb, S. C. (2013), “Mental causation and double prevention”, in S. C. Gibb, E. J. Lowe, R. D.
Ingthorsson (eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp. 193-215.
• Horgan T., Tienson, J., & Graham, G. (2003). The phenomenology of first person agency. In S.
Walter, & H. D. Heckmann (Eds.), Physicalism and mental causation: The metaphysics of mind
and action (pp.323–340). Imprint Academic.
• Libet, B. (1985). ‘Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary
Action’. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 8: 529–66.
• Lowe, E. J. (2008), Personal Agency The Metaphysics of Mind and Action, Oxfor: Oxford
University Press.
• Lowe, E. J., (2013), “Substance Causation, Powers, and Human Agency”, u S. C. Gibb, E. J. Lowe,
R. D. Ingthorsson (eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.
153-173
• Molnar, G. (2003), Powers: A Study in Metaphysics, S. Mumford (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
• Mumford, S., Anjum, R. L. (2009), “Double Prevention and Powers” Journal of Critical Realism 8
(3): 277-293.
• Mumford, S., Anjum, R. L. (2011), Getting Causes From Powers. OUP Oxford.