Jaegwon Kim has argued that nonreductive physicalism should be abandoned in favour of reductionism. The main reason for this is that Kim thinks nonreductive physicalism is incapable of providing a robust account of mental causation. Indeed, Kim himself has marshaled several influential arguments to show that nonreductive physicalism leads to the causal inefficacy of mental properties. The only way to avoid this result, according to Kim, is to reduce mental properties to physical properties. However, I argue that there are grounds to suspect that Kim’s own brand of functional reduction either eliminates the mental--in which case it does not provide an account of mental causation at all (robust or otherwise)--or it is equivalent to one of the versions of nonreductive physicalism Kim has rejected, in which case his criticisms of nonreductive physicalism might be misguided. Either way, there is little to recommend his version of functionalism as a reductive theory.
|Keywords:||Mental Causation, Reductionism, Epiphenomenalism, Functionalism, Properties|
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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