Mental Causation By David Robb And John Heil ( R & H ) Essay

851 Words Dec 6th, 2016 4 Pages
In section 6 of Mental Causation by David Robb and John Heil (R&H), functionalism is framed in the context of the causal exclusion problem, and several solutions are provided in attempts to solve it, namely: the autonomy solution, the inheritance solution and the identity solution. I believe the first two solutions to fail in virtue of dependent overdetermination, and that the identity solution cannot maintain unitary properties, as opposed to what R&H suggest.
Functionalism sees mental properties as multiply realizable, which means different causal profiles can lead to the same mental property. This is concluded from the intuition that there is no one physical state that can comprehensively cause every case of a mental property. For example, the physical/neurological processes involved in causing pain can vastly differ between humans and octopuses. The causal exclusion problem is not only concerned about whether mental properties are causal, but also about how they could be causal.
One argument defending functionalism from the exclusion problem is the autonomy solution, which appeals to the explanatory norms practiced in special sciences. For example, “psychological explanations typically abstract away from details of lower-level implementation, appealing instead to their own distinctive kinds and laws”. In the same vein, it maybe be possible for mental and physical properties to coexist despite their derivative relationship. A subset of the autonomy solution, the dual…

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