2 Davidson is not completely consistent on the matter. In other works he expresses his irreducibility claim at the level of properties rather than concepts.
3 Brandon (1995: 9).
4 See McDowell (1985).
5 As we’ll see, though, my view of multiple realizability-based arguments against reductionism is somewhat complicated.
6 Davidson (1970).
7 Not to be confused with anomalous monism itself.
8 Davidson (1970) always puts his claims in terms of predicates rather than properties. Throughout this work, though, I’ll generally be translating his predicate talk into my own property talk.
9 Davidson (1970: 219).
10 This point is also made by Johnston (1985: 411).
11 Davidson (1970: 211). In this particular case, I think things will be clearest if I use Davidson’s own predicate talk instead of translating it into my own property talk, as I do elsewhere.
12 Davidson (1970: 212).
13 Davidson (1970: 214).
14 Dretske (1989).
15 See for instance Honderich (1982), Sosa (1984), and Kim (1984).
16 There are further differences that we will see along the way.
17 Set out in the papers contained in the second section of Davidson (1980).
18 Obviously, I’m relying in part on multiple realizability considerations here. As I mentioned in n. 1 above, my position regarding multiple realizability is somewhat complicated.
19 Later on we’ll see that I’m neutral on the anomalousness part.
20 Kim (1973) and (1976).
21 In addition to Davidson this includes Lewis (1966), Papineau (2001), and Melnyk (2003).
22 This version of the argument is based on that given in Papineau (2001), with minor adjustments.
23 Thus, in order to discuss the argument, I’m willing to grant that mental events are identical to physical events.
24 See for instance Wright, (2003), (2004); Davies (2004).
25 Wright (2003: 57) writes that “a valid argument with warranted premises cannot be cogent if the route to warrant for its premises goes – of necessity, or under the particular constraints of a given epistemic context – via a prior warrant for its conclusion.” In the case we have been considering, though, the warrant for (C) isn’t prior to the warrant for (P1) – what’s prior here is the warrant for (P*), which entails both (P1) and (C). In terms of priority of warrant, (P1) and (C) “tie.”
Two things can be said here. First, I find it natural to expand on Wright’s understanding of cogency in such a way that the causal argument counts as uncogent in the epistemic situation we have imagined even though the warrant for (C) is not prior to the warrant for (P1) there. Second, there is a generalized version of the causal argument with precisely the sort of structure Wright describes. The generalized argument goes as follows.
(P1): The physical realm is causally closed (this premise is unchanged).
(P2’): Generalized causal influence: all physical events, chemical events, biological events, mental events, etc. – that is, all events – have physical effects.
(P3’): Generalized no universal overdetermination: the physical effects of physical causes, chemical causes, biological causes, mental causes, etc. – that is, all causes – are not all overdetermined.
(C’): Generalized physicalism: Physical events, chemical events, biological events, mental events – that is, all events – are physical events.
The conclusion of this generalized argument, (C’), is identical to the proposition (P*). And so, since the warrant for (P*) is prior to the warrant for (P1) in the epistemic situation we have been imagining, it follows that the warrant for this generalized causal argument’s conclusion will be prior to the warrant for its premise (P1) within that epistemic situation. Proponents of the (restricted) causal argument for physicalism about the mental often endorse this sort of generalized causal argument; see for instance Papineau (2001: p. 33 n. 5). In what follows I will assume that it is legitimate for me to leave this generalized argument aside and press my cogency concerns while focusing on the restricted causal argument.
26 It may be that (P1) actually has multiple warrants. In order for the causal argument to be cogent, all that’s required is that some actual warrant for (P1) is capable of transmitting across it. It’s no problem if it’s also the case that some warrants are incapable of transmitting.
27 Melnyk (2003: 289-290). See also Papineau (2001) for a similar thought.
28 Papineau (2001).
29 Papineau’s (2001) causal argument relies on a similar distinction.
30 See for instance Lewis (1966), and again the discussion in Papineau (2001).
31 If one thinks that to be non-physical is ipso facto to lack a spatial location, then one will take condition (i) to be trivially satisfied.
32 This is Kim’s (2005) model of reduction, though here I mean to be neutral on whether it’s best thought of as a model of reduction or physical analysis in some weaker sense.
33 Even aside from the sorts of issues relating to emergence and quantum chemistry raised in Kronz and Tiehen (2002), there are questions about whether the relation between chemistry and physics is best thought of as that of reduction. We can leave this aside here however.
34 I don’t think this is the only way we can show that (P1) is true. I also think we can make compelling arguments for (P*) and then infer from these arguments the truth of (P1). It is on the basis of these arguments that I accept (P1).
35 Fodor (1989: 159, n. 18).
36 Davidson (1993: 14).
37 Kim (1993a: 23) makes this point.
38 Putnam (1975), Burge (1979), Davidson (1987).
39 Throughout this work I’m going to avoid taking an official stand on the content internalism/externalism debate.
40 The distinctions between weak, strong, and global supervenience won’t matter for my argument, so I’ll be ignoring them.
41 Schiffer (2003: 349).
42 Here, as in the original Putnam thought experiment, I’ll be ignoring complications arising from the presence of water in human bodies.
43 Sometimes defenders of this view call themselves “analytic functionalists.” For reasons that will soon emerge, though, I want to avoid using this label.
44 On the debate between these two versions of commonsense functionalism, see for instance Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996).
45 Specifically, I find compelling the chauvinism objection to psychofunctionalism, developed in works like Block (1978) and Shoemaker (1981).
46 Shoemaker (1981) introduces the real essence/nominal essence distinction in his discussion of functionalism, but not in a way I accept. He takes commonsense functionalists to be, ipso facto, nominal essence functionalists, and psychofunctionalists to be real essence functionalists. I regard the two distinctions as completely orthogonal.
47 Something like this view is expressed by Fodor (1994: 121, n.2) when he writes,
The notion of multiple realization belongs to metaphysics, and the notion of functional definition belongs to semantics (and/or the philosophy of science), and it’s perfectly possible to believe in one but not in the other. I am myself inclined to doubt that there are functional definitions because I am inclined to doubt that there are any definitions (hardly). But I think that many of the properties that figure in special science laws, and probably most of the properties that figure in psychological laws, are multiply realized; specifically, they are not constituted by microstructural ‘hidden essences’.
Instead, such properties are constituted by functional essences.
48 The folk don’t know water’s real essence a priori, so why should we think that mental states will be any different (as my combination of positions entails)? There are many (naturalistically acceptable) responses available to this question. Without committing myself to any particular response, here’s an example of one. Science discovers (real) essences. Natural selection has equipped us with an intricate, internally represented psychological theory, but with no such theory of water. This psychological theory is, in important respects, just like a scientific theory. And so, however it is that science discovers essences, that’s what’s going on here.
49 Lewis (1966), (1970), (1972).
50 This isn’t the same sense I’m using when I claim that mental events are realized by physical events.
51 That is, xyzz’((tissue damage causes x & x causes y & y causes heart rate acceleration) & (tissue damage causes z & z causes z’ & z’ causes heart rate acceleration) ((x = z) & (y = z’))).
52 ‘Causes’ isn’t a name, so in making this move we would need to either introduce second order quantification or translate T into a language whose causal terms are all names, following Lewis (1970).
53 We’ll look at role-state functionalism in detail in Chapter 6. Lewis (1994) rejects property identifications of the sort being proposed and so rejects role-state functionalism; on his view, the property in question shouldn’t be identified with pain but rather with the distinct property being in pain. Chapter 6 contains an extended discussion of Lewis’s views on the matter. More generally, given his acceptance of “Humean supervenience,” Lewis would deny that there is any property at all having the essence we are presently supposing pain to have, that of being caused by tissue damage and causing anxiety.
54 An objection I will be completely passing over here is that the sorts of properties in question are too wildly disjunctive to possess causal powers, and so don’t possess any causal powers essentially. Again, see Lewis (1994). Again, we’ll be discussing Lewis’s view in Chapter 6.
55 Analogously, if meanings slice things more finely than necessary coextensionality, we can’t generally identify the meanings of mental terms with the intensions delivered by Lewis’s account of functional definitions.
56 Shoemaker (1981: 261).
57 I say “most” because there is a question of whether Lewis counts as a causal functionalist by the present criterion. In multiple works he has written things that seem to clearly indicate that he accepts causal functionalism as I have defined it, but in Lewis (1972: 257-258) he writes,
Think of common sense psychology as a term-introducing scientific theory, though one invented long before there was any institution as professional science. Collect all the platitudes you can think of regarding the causal relations of mental states, sensory stimuli, and motor responses. . . . Add also all the platitudes to the effect that one mental state falls under another . . . Perhaps there are platitudes of other forms as well.
That Lewis takes the specifying psychological theory to include both clauses about how one mental state (e.g., anger) falls under another (e.g., emotion) and also – perhaps – clauses of some other unspecified nature calls into question his status as a causal functionalist.
58 In this work I’ll be taking no stand on the relation between practical rationality and morality, or on whether the specifying psychological theory contains moral clauses.
59 See for instance Lewis (1974), Lewis (1986: Ch. 1), and Dennett (1987).
60 For questions as to whether it actually does so, see subsection 2.4.3 below.
61 Jackson and Pettit (1995), Jackson (1998).
62 That the same doesn’t seem to be true of obligation-imposing clauses is connected to the point that obligation-imposing clauses don’t entail anything about how rational the subjects of mental states must be.
63 Lewis (1970: 432).
64 Perhaps this is what Lewis (1986: 36) means when he writes, “We suppose that people tend to behave in a way that serves their desires according their beliefs. We should take this principle of instrumental rationality to be neither descriptive nor normative but constitutive of belief.”
65 Schroeder (2003) argues that Davidson’s theory of the mind is not genuinely normative. The present subsection offers one way of understanding how this could be despite Davidson’s constant talk of constitutive rationality. It should be emphasized here that in various works – including his (1985), for instance – Davidson explicitly contends that the mental is normative. So, the question isn’t whether Davidson is trying to defend a normative view of the mind but rather whether the specific view of mind he in fact defends properly counts as normative.
66 On the idea of strong supervenience, see for instance Kim (1990).
67 The arguments needn’t speak against causal functionalism itself. Again, the (CRT) is compatible with causal functionalism, provided that a broadly causal analysis of normativity is available. However, the arguments must speak against the form of causal functionalism we’ve been considering, which rejects the (CRT).
68 Consider a subject who initially believes that P and that ~Q who then comes to believe that if P then Q. Employing modus ponens, she now infers that Q, failing to recognize that this is inconsistent with her belief that ~Q. Is the causal power that is exercised in this inference to be categorized as a rational power, since modus ponens is a valid argument form, or an irrational power, since the resulting belief set is inconsistent?
My reply is that there are multiple causal powers being exercised here, as is generally the case in instances of causation. Consider arsenic. Arsenic possesses a pair of distinct causal powers: the power to kill a person, and the power to poison a person. That these powers are distinct is demonstrated by the fact that a speeding bullet possesses the first but not the second. When a person ingests arsenic and dies, both of the causal powers in question are exercised. Similarly, I take inferences to Q from P and if P then Q to involve the exercise of a rational causal power, and inferences to Q from P and if P then Q when one believes that ~Q to involve the exercise of a irrational causal power (assuming that one retains the belief that ~Q). Thus, in the example provided, two distinct causal powers are exercised, one which is rational and one which is irrational.
69 See for instance Tversky and Kahneman (1983).
70 See Shafir and LeBoeuf (2002), for an overview of the psychological literature.
71 I need to put this in terms of doing the equivalent of denying the antecedent, for instance, since genuinely denying the antecedent presumably requires having beliefs, while it’s an open question at this point whether subjects in F at w have beliefs.
72 In speaking of subjects who are in F at w as thereby being in belief states, I mean to be covering both the possibility that F itself is a belief state and also the possibility that F is a physical realizer of a belief state.
73 See for instance Kahneman (2003). The heuristics and biases program is heavily influenced by Herbert Simon’s notion of bounded rationality; see for instance Simon (1957).
74 The rough idea is that given the description of her, the proposition that Linda is a bank teller and that she is active in the feminist movement seems more “representative” of Linda than does the proposition that she is a bank teller, and it is this representativeness subjects are tracking when they judge the former proposition more likely than the latter. Tversky and Kahneman (1982) provides an extended discussion of the representativeness heuristic.
75 On the links between bounded rationality and evolutionary biology, see the papers collected in Gigerenzer (2000). While Gigerenzer is critical of the heuristics and biases program in certain ways, it’s tempting to think that there’s not all that much difference between his views and those of researchers like Tversky and Kahneman. On this point, see Samuels, Stich, and Bishop (2002).
76 An analogy commonly offered is that of optical illusions: just as optical illusions are thought to be especially good tools for revealing how our vision systems work, “cognitive illusions” like our susceptibility to the conjunction fallacy are thought to be especially good tools for revealing how our reasoning systems work.
77 In effect, I’m appealing to a kind of multiple realizability argument here. The focus isn’t (directly) on the most basic physical level of realization, however, but rather on a mid-level form of realization. To invoke Marr’s (1982) three levels of description, the idea is roughly that belief is a kind of computational (upper) level property, while the heuristics a believer employs in reasoning correspond to algorithmic (mid) level properties. Both of these are to be distinguished from implementatioal (lower) level properties. On Marr’s (1982: 26) account, it’s generally the case that a single computational level property can be realized by multiple algorithmic level properties.
78 Cherniak (1986).
79 Davidson (1974).
80 Cherniak (1986: 130-131). See also Stich (1990: Ch. 2).
81 Moore (1903).
82 Are there no arational actions at all? Hursthouse (1991) argues that there are, focusing on actions like jumping for joy or strumming one’s fingers, which she claims are done for no reason (at least in a certain sense). Rey (2002) and (2007) relies partly on Hursthouse’s argument in developing an objection to normativist views of mind like Davidson’s, and like the one I’m in the midst of defending. I myself am inclined to accept Davidson’s view, set out in works like his (1963), (1970b), and (1982), according to which it’s constitutive of actions that they be done for reasons, in which case there can be no arational actions in the relevant sense. For the purposes of the argument I’m leading up to in the text, however, I’d be willing to grant Hursthouse and Rey that the actions they describe are genuinely arational.
83 Just as I granted in the previous note that there may be some arational actions, I’m willing to grant for the sake of argument that there may be some arational inferences.
84 In light of the concessions made in the preceding two notes, G states at w’ won’t be capable of causing whatever arational actions or inferences there may be. In the remainder of this subsection I will leave this qualification implicit.
85 The (CRT) does not entail the truth of this view, so one can accept the (CRT) without hold this view.
86 Can the sort of constitutive-rationality-without-normativity view described in subsection 2.4.3 adequately explain the joint truth of (P1) and (P2)? I don’t think it can, because I don’t think such a view can adequately explain why principles of rationality like consistency would be constitutive of the mental. This response requires more elaboration than I’m able to give it here, but at any rate, my second argument for the (CRT) clearly tells against the view.
87 ‘Non-normative properties’ is to be understood on analogy with ‘non-physical properties’ in discussions of physicalism, meaning that it’s not a contradiction in terms to suppose that normative properties might be identified with non-normative ones.
88 That is, the thesis that across all metaphysically possible worlds, entities that are indiscernible with respect to their non-normative properties are indiscernible with respect to their normative properties.
89 Stalnaker (1968), Lewis (1973).
90 Lewis (1973: 24-25).
91 On this point, and providing a broader defense of the use of counterpossibles when dealing with necessarily false metaphysical theses, see Sider (1999: 339-340) and also Merricks (2003: 5-8).
92 For instance, on the accounts of conceivability that are derivable from the two-dimensionalist frameworks defended by Chalmers (1996) and Jackson (1998), and also on the alternative account of conceivability sketched in Yablo (1993).
93 Gibbard (2003) offers what in effect is an argument for the conceivability of (CP)’s antecedent. See also Sturgeon (1985: 251), who entertains a counterpossible relevantly like (CP) in responding to an argument of Gilbert Harman’s.
94 What I’m calling “analytical reductionism” is similar to what Smith (1994: Ch. 2) calls “definitional naturalism” and what Jackson (1998: Ch.6) calls “analytical descriptivism.” Neither of these alternative labels is to my liking, which is why I’ve introduced a new term. Analytical reductionism about moral normativity is defended by Lewis (1989) and Jackson (1998) among others.
95 That is, no physicalists that I know of explicitly say that belief zombies are conceivable.
96 I’m assuming the truth of physicalism in making these claims, and in particular the causal closure of the physical realm.
97 Of course the names “irrational,” “arational,” and “rational” causal powers would be inappropriate if there were no such thing as rational normativity, but the powers would be the same without these names.
98 See for instance Kim (2006: 301-302). Kim is explicitly addressing the question of whether phenomenal zombies would have beliefs, but the arguments he makes would seem to have straightforward implications for the present discussion.
99 Kim (1988), which is a response to Quine (1969).
100 Kim (1988: 234).
101 I follow Kim by putting things in terms of the concept of justification rather than in terms of justification itself.
102 Kim (1988) himself goes on argue that belief is normative just as knowledge is.
103 I especially have in mind the views of philosophers like Sellars (1956), McDowell (1985) and (1994), and Brandom (1994).
104 An especially succinct statement of this view from the philosophers cited in the last note is provided by Brandom (1994: 5): “attitudes we adopt in response to environing stimuli count as beliefs just insofar as they can serve as and stand in need of reasons.”
105 I take the term from the exchange between Rey (2007) and Wedgwood (2007), although I don’t understand it in quite the way they do.
106 In this work, I will operate with an abundant conception of properties, according to which every predicate corresponds to some property. Within this abundant realm, though, I recognize a distinction between natural properties and unnatural properties. This view is inspired by Lewis (1983). There will be much more on the distinction between natural and unnatural properties in the chapters ahead.
107 I’m assuming the concept of pain is required to believe that I’m in pain, for instance.
108 This is one of the driving thoughts behind the introduction of nonconceptual content.
109 There is at least a good deal of empirical evidence suggesting that young children possess the concept of desire before they possess the concept of belief. See for instance Nichols and Stich (2003: 75), and the psychological sources cited there.
110 See for instance Davidson (1973) and (1974b) in addition to his (1970). Other normativists who locate the mental’s normative status in its intentional content include McDowell (1994), Brandom (1995), Wedgwood (2007), and Putnam (1983), who defends a Davidson-inspired interpretationist account of wide content.
111 On phenomenal concepts, see for instance Loar (1990) and Tye (2000: Ch. 2).
112 Suppose that the phenomenal zombies is embedded in the same sort of environment I am.
113 See Chalmers (1996: 203-209).
114 This is like the view in metaethics which Smith (1994) calls “metaphysical naturalism” and which Jackson (1998) calls “ontological descriptivism.” Views like Sturgeon (1985), Railton (1986), Boyd (1988), and Brink (1989) are compatible with metaphysical reductionism, but perhaps they don’t require it. See the below discussion of Cornell realism.
115 On normative concepts, see Gibbard (2003).
116 Suppose that metaphysical reductionism is true and that a certain normative property is reducible to the physical property P. Given that P is a physical property, the following counterpossible is false.
(CP7): If normative eliminativism were true, P wouldn’t be instantiated.
Thus, it doesn’t follow from the proposed test for normative status that P is normative, even though by assumption it is. This is no objection to the test though, which is meant to provide only a sufficient condition on a property’s being normative, not a necessary one.
117 Of course a normative eliminativist will insist that (CP)’s antecedent is true and thus will deny that (CP) is a counterpossible.
118 The versions of antirealism I have in mind might grant that (CP) is true and, in turn, that things possess normative properties, but they will provide minimalist accounts of what this amounts to.
119 Though see Davidson (1997) for a repudiation of antirealism about the mental.
120 A causal functionalist who accepts analytical reductionism could also accept normativism about belief, but then she will drop my proposed test for normative status.
121 That is, normative properties strongly supervene on non-normative properties, where both quantifiers over worlds (in the possible worlds formulation of strong supervenience) range over all metaphysically possible worlds. There will be much more discussion of antireductionism and supervenience in Chapter 5.
122 Moore (1903).
123 See Sturgeon (1985), Railton (1986), Boyd (1988), and Brink (1989).
124 Putnam (1967), Fodor (1974), Boyd (1980).
125 Can irreducibly normative properties still count as natural properties? It might not matter with respect to naturalism. On Brink’s (1989: 159) account, naturalism might be true even if normative properties are neither natural themselves nor reducible to natural properties.
126 Brink (1984) explicitly entertains a causal functionalist account of normative properties, but I don’t take this to be essential to his broader views.
127 The language of “realization” is used by Sturgeon (1985: 250, n. 26) and Brink (1989: 157-158).
128 See for instance Kim (1998: 19-23).
129 Brink (1989: 157-159) alternates between taking the relation between normative and non-normative properties to be that of realization and taking it to be that of constitution. Even setting aside questions about how to understand constitution as a relation between properties (as opposed to particulars), the same sorts of issues just raised regarding realization would seem to arise, mutatis mutandis, for Brink’s understanding of constitution.
130 We will be discussing different views of realization at length in the chapters that follow.
131 It also includes a semantic component which Cornell realists accept: the claim that moral terms are not equivalent in meaning to non-moral terms. On the metaphysical, epistemological, and semantic components of non-naturalism, see for instance Ridge (2003).
132 See especially Boyd (1988) and Brink (1989: Ch. 5).
133 Support for the conclusion that Moore’s metaphysics isn’t inherently non-naturalistic seems to be found in Brink (1989: 165, n. 16), who argues that Moore’s acceptance of the strong supervenience of normative properties on natural ones is incompatible with his non-naturalism. If, as Brink’s argument suggests, an acceptance of strong supervenience is enough to qualify one as a naturalist metaphysically, then my own antireductionism is clearly naturalistic.
134 The most promising thought here is that a metaphysical difference can be grounded in how the two views explain the supervenience of normative properties on non-normative properties. Unfortunately, there are questions about how the Cornell realists do explain supervenience; see for instance Darwall, Gibbard, and Railton (1992: 171). This is part of the point of the above discussion of how Cornell realists understand the realization relation.
135 It’s not that we can’t in any way explain the possession of normative properties in terms of the possession of non-normative properties. Not even Moore holds this. The Nazis were bad because they killed lots of people – this is an explanation of what made the Nazis bad. Rather, the claim is that we can’t reductively explain the possession of normative properties in terms of the possession of non-normative properties.
136 Contrast this with Fodor’s (1987: 97) line on intentionality: “if aboutness is real, it must be really something else.” The apparent contrast seems to be lost, though, when Fodor allows that demonstrating that intentional properties supervene on non-intentional properties might qualify as demonstrating that aboutness is really something else.
137 Kim has denied that pain is a natural property in various works while Clapp (2001) has argued that some disjunctive properties are natural. I grant Clapp that the properties he describes might be natural but deny that they are properly viewed as disjunctive; my objections to Kim’s view are set out in Chapters 6 and 7.
138 Regard to-be-believedness as a kind of to-be-doneness.
139 I take it that if a property is natural, it’s necessarily natural. I also take it that it’s an empirical matter which properties are natural. Thus I assume that (CP8)’s antecedent is impossible but conceivable.
140 Moore (1903).
141 See for instance Jackson (1998: 150-153), who emphasizes that the relevant analytic entailments will be extraordinarily complex.
142 This is approximately how Darwall, Gibbard, and Railton (1992) cast things.
143 This is roughly the view Chalmers (1996) labels “Type A” physicalism. A notable recent proponent of the view is Jackson (2003).
144 Hume (1737).
145 That is, the supposed explanatory gap pertaining to phenomenal consciousness, as described by Levine (1983) and others.
146 Of course, the conceivability of belief zombies doesn’t follow directly from Hume’s is-ought gap/Moore’s open question argument. A further premise is needed, such as that beliefs are essentially connected to reasons in the way described in section 3.2.
147 Kripke (1980).
148 For similar arguments, see Horgan and Timmons (1992) and Jackson (1998: 151).
149 Chalmers and Jackson (2001). See also Chalmers (2006).
150 They actually put their claims in terms of a priori entailment, but I take their views about the relations between a prioricity and meaning to entail that my formulation is equivalent to theirs.
151 Again, bear in mind that Jackson rejects the open question argument; see n. 36. Thus he would reject the antireductionistic conclusion I reach here. By a similar token, Jackson thinks that the totality of microphysical truths analytically entails the totality of phenomenal truths, and so he rejects Chalmers’ antireductionistic conclusions about phenomenal consciousness.
152 See Block and Stalnaker (2001).
153 For reasons closely related to this difference, I’m committed to rejecting Chalmers’ own two-dimensionalist framework and also to rejecting his view of the relation between conceivability and possibility. As was first noted in Chapter 3, and as we’ll see again in Chapter 5, I deny that belief zombies’ conceivability entails their possibility.
154 Taken from Kim (1990: 141).
155 Understand the set of physical properties here to include the properties possessed by physical properties of entering into various purely physical laws, including causal laws.
156 See for instance Lewis (1983), Chalmers (1996), Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996), and Stoljar (2001).
157 Horgan (1993: 561).
158 Those normative antirealists who deny that there are any normative properties may accept this conditional supervenience thesis because they accept some other supervenience claim – for instance, that normative claims (perhaps not normative truths) supervene on non-normative claims.
159 Chalmers (2002).
160 Blackburn (1971), (1985).
161 Essentially the same argument can be run switching (i) and (ii) for more intuitively graspable propositions. So for instance, (i’): That Saddam’s execution is morally justifiable is conceivable, and (ii’): That Saddam’s execution is not morally justifiable is conceivable.
162 Here I’m relying on the uncontroversial principle that negative inconceivability implies impossibility – that is, the principle that it’s impossible for contradictions to be true.
163 Not necessarily irreducible normative properties, just normative properties of any sort.
164 For a similar point, see Yablo’s (2002) discussion of conceivability, possibility, and morality. Chalmers (2002) briefly considers how considerations like the ones being raised here might pose problems for his account, but doesn’t give these problems due weight in my view.
165 Bonevac (1995: 125) writes, “strong supervenience has precisely the ontological implications of reduction.”
166 Davidson (1993: 4, n. 4).
167 Kim (1990: 141).
168 I believe that what Davidson really should have done is accept strong supervenience but then deny that the nomologically necessary supervenience conditionals that come in its wake qualify as laws. See Loewer (1995: 224, n. 12) for a similar thought. Many propositions are nomologically necessary without being laws. For instance, it’s nomologically necessary but not a law that all emeroses are gred, where ‘emeroses’ is defined from ‘emeralds’ and ‘roses’ while ‘gred’ is defined from ‘green’ and ‘red’ in the obvious grue-like ways. (The example comes from Davidson (1966), but I’m using it in precisely the opposite way that Davidson does.) Though nomologically necessary, this proposition is not confirmed by its instances and does not support counterfactuals in the ways laws do. The central question for the strategy I’m offering to Davidson is whether we can understand nomologically necessary supervenience conditionals broadly along these lines without also supposing that mental and physical properties are unnatural gruesome properties, in the way that being an emerose and being red are. The issues here are closely related to those that arise in Davidson’s (1970: 218) dispute with Goodman over whether laws link properties that are “made for each other.”
169 Nagel (1961) is one of the main defenders of this view.
170 Causey (1972).
171 Kim (1989: 269).
172 As well as desire zombies, intention zombies, etc.
173 McLaughlin (1985: 366). In fairness, McLaughlin is just echoing Davidson’s (1970: 214) own characterization of his view.
174 Horgan (1993). See also Kim (1998: Ch. 1), Melnyk (2003: Ch. 1-2), and Wilson (1999) among others.
175 Horgan (1993: 566).
176 Wilson (1999) challenges Horgan’s own account.
177 See Kim (1998: 23-27), Melnyk (2003: Ch. 2).
178 I believe that an antireductionist about normativity can explain the interesting supervenience relations she posits, she just cannot do so in a reductive way. However, the sorts of explanations I have in mind will certainly not be regarded by Horgan as compatible with superdupervenience, so it’s not a point worth pressing here.
179 Papineau (2001). The objection I raised against the causal argument in Chapter 1 is irrelevant for present purposes.
180 See McLaughlin (1992). Along with Moore’s non-naturalism, Horgan uses the British Emergentists as one of his central examples to motivate the claim that physicalism requires superdupervenience.
181 This is a reference to the title of Kim (2005). In truth, though, provided that I can solve the causal exclusion problem, my view is nearer enough to physicalism than Kim’s is.
182 Especially Kim (2003) and (2005).
183 This is Kim’s (2005) formulation of the closure principle. It is extremely difficult to formulate a closure principle that (i) is easy to understand intuitively, (ii) doesn’t pack so much into the notion of closure that it begs the question against nonreductive physicalists, and (iii) is completely insusceptible to counterexamples. The present closure principle has problems with respect to (iii). Suppose that physical-to-mental causal interactions are instantaneous. Then, consider a physical event p occurring at time t which instantaneously causes a mental event m also occurring at t. In the next step in the causal chain, m directly causes a distinct physical event p’, which occurs at t’. Given that the causal connection from p to p’ goes through m, intuitively this causal chain should not count as being in compliance with the causal closure of the physical realm – if all causal chains were like this, we wouldn’t want to say that the physical realm is causally closed. However, the causal chain described is consistent with (Closure). This point is due to Rob Koons. This counterexample having been noted, (Closure) scores as well on (i)-(iii) as any alternative formulation of causal closure I’ve seen or been able to think of, so in what follows I rely on it.
184 Again, see Kim (1990: 141).
185 Stronger overdetermination theses are also extremely plausible, but again, the weaker the thesis we use here the stronger the inconsistency result.
186 Shoemaker’s (2001) subset account of realization seems to require the rejection of this principle.
187 See for instance Kim (2003).
188 The term ‘realizer-state functionalism’ is taken from Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996). Among other places, the view is defended in Armstrong (1968); Lewis (1966), (1972), (1980), (1994); Jackson Pargetter and Prior (1982), Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996), and Jackson (1996).
189 This term also comes from Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996).
190 Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996) refer to these second order properties as “causal roles”; hence the name “role-state functionalism.”
191 This way of putting things is meant to be neutral with respect to the split between realizer-state functionalists and role-state functionalists.
192 This thought is challenged by Kim, as we’ll see below.
193 Realizer-state functionalists are what I called nominal essence functionalists back in Chapter 2.
194 By Place (1956), Feigl (1958), and Smart (1959).
195 The classic antireductionistic arguments based on multiple realizability considerations are made by Putnam (1967) and Fodor (1974).
196 The example is taken from Lewis (1980).
197 This move was first made in Lewis (1969). It continues to be popular with reductionists who don’t sign on for everything realizer-state functionalism entails, like Bickle (1998).
198 Before continuing on let me note that a property like pain-in-humans cannot be identified with a conjunctive property like (pain & being in humans). If it could be, then perhaps a case could be made that any plausible philosophy of mind will need to regard pain-in-humans as a natural property. One way to see that the proposed identification is illegitimate is to recognize that though the realizer-state functionalist has told us at this point which property pain-in-humans is (it’s PM), she hasn’t yet said anything about which property is pain simpliciter – that is, pain unhyphenated. For more on this point, see the below discussion of realizer-state functionalism and eliminativism. For an additional reason why the realizer functionalist cannot identify pain-in-humans with the sort of conjunctive property in question, see Lewis (1994: 307).
199 The upshot of my first observation regarding (1) is that realizer-state functionalists draw a metaphysical distinction where naively we wouldn’t have thought there is one, between pain in humans and pain in Martians. The upshot of the Common Feature Objection is that realizer-state functionalists seem to be ignoring what naively we would have thought is a metaphysical similarity, the similarity between pain in humans and pain in Martians.
200 Lewis (1994: 307). Lewis’s definition of ‘being in M’ includes a relativization to kinds and worlds which I have dropped here. He takes the notion of ‘being in M’ from Jackson, Pargetter, and Prior (1982), but here I use the later Lewis formulation because it makes it easier to see the point I want to make.
201 Lewis (1994: 307).
202 Lewis (1994: 307).
203 Kim (1992). See also Lewis (1986b: 224). Lewis’s conclusions there about dispositions like immunity match well with my claims about the relation between realizer functionalism and (unhyphenated) pain.
204 Lewis (1969) first took this line in response to the antireductionistic conclusions Putnam drew from multiple realizability.
205 For simplicity, I’ll be ignoring realization as a relation between events here.
206 See Shoemaker (2001).
207 Lewis (1969).
208 As in Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996).
209 There are alternative accounts of what causal roles are. For instance, according to Schiffer (1987) they are second level properties rather than second order properties – that is, they are properties of properties. I find this use of the terminology more natural, though for our purposes the difference between the two accounts doesn’t really matter.
210 This point was first noted back in Chapter 2.
211 Fodor’s (1974) classic argument against reductionism is specifically based on the claim that there are mental and other special science properties that are multiply realizable and yet enter into natural laws – that is, and yet are natural.
212 For instance, David (1997), Horgan (1997), and Jackson (2002).
213 Kim (1998) p. 98-99. I have put ‘F’ in place of ‘M’, the letter Kim uses, in order to make it clear that in this passage Kim is not simply identifying a mental property with a physical property. The realizer-state functionalist accepts such property identifications. Instead, Kim is identifying a causal-functional property (which also happens to be a mental property) with a physical property. And this sort of property identification the realizer-state functionalist reject.
214 Block (2003).
215 Jackson (2002).
216 Kim (1998: 103).
217 Kim (1998: 104).
218 We can thus think of Kim as providing two independent arguments against nonreductive physicalism. First there is his supervenience argument, which is meant to show that no version of nonreductive physicalism is viable. Second, there is his present argument against the existence of causal-functional properties. If there are no causal-functional properties, then there is no coherent version of role-state functionalism – that is, no version that avoids collapsing into a reductive form of physicalism. But role-state functionalism seems to be one of the more promising, well-articulated versions of nonreductive physicalism that there is, and so its incoherence would strike a blow against the chances of nonreductive physicalism being true.
219 Throughout my discussion of the disjunction identity theory, I will be pretending that the metaphysics of disjunctive properties are much less problematic than they really are. So for instance, I will not hesitate to speak of disjunctive properties as literally having disjuncts which are properties. See though Clapp (2001).
220 Even if a disjunction identity theorist rejects this second principle, there is reason to think it won’t help her get out of the causal exclusion problem I’m setting up for her. Remember, the disjunction identity theorist we are considering is a causal-functionalist who identifies pain with the disjunction of those properties whose instantiations are typically caused by tissue damage and typically cause wincing. Thus, if PM is one of the property disjuncts, its instantiations must typically cause wincing. But then, regardless of whether a disjunction identity theorist generally accepts the second principle, she will need to say that in Martians, wincing is typically caused by both instantiations of PM and instantiations of pain – that is, (PH or PM). This concession by itself will allow me to run a modified causal exclusion argument against the disjunction identity theorist.
221 In this modified exclusion argument, the first principle about disjunctive properties plays a role similar to that played by (Supervenience) in the original exclusion argument, while the second principle about disjunctive properties plays a role similar to that played by (Closure) in the original argument.
222 Kim (2002: 672-673). I have put things here in terms of property instantiations rather than property instances, as Kim does. It should be noted that Kim understands ‘Pi’ here to range over first order physical properties like PH, not over disjunctions of physical properties.
223 Could a nonreductive physicalist try to co-opt the disjunction identity theorist’s strategy here by accepting property instantiation identities without property identities? Kim (2003: n. 7) writes, “the relevant sense in which an [instantiation] of M = an [instantiation] of P requires either property identity M = P or some form of reductive relationship between them.” He provides no defense of this claim however.
224 Kim (1973: 9).
225 Kim (1993b: 364-365, n. 5).
226 Here I’m assuming that the relation between disjunctive properties and their property disjuncts can be viewed as that of multiple realizability.
227 Could the disjunction identity theory be developed together with a view that takes at least some disjunctive properties to be natural? Clapp (2001) defends a position along these lines. There is much that can be said about this combination of views, but perhaps the bottom line is that I deny that the properties Clapp describes are properly viewed as disjunctive.
228 See Jackson, Pargetter, and Prior (1982: 220-221) and Lewis (1994: 306).
229 Of course, eliminativist functionalism also denies the existence of causally efficacious and multiply realizable mental properties.
230 Here and throughout this chapter I will assume that laws are generalizations, but nothing of importance turns on this.
231 I want to ignore here the complications that are introduced with near realization, which we discussed back in Chapter 2 in connection with Lewis.
232 Goodman (1979).
233 In speaking of ranging over physically dissimilar events, I mean to include generalizations that range over events that are physically realized in dissimilar way. Thus, even if nonreductive physicalism is true, (3) counts as ranging over physically dissimilar events (and not just as ranging over non-physical mental events) for my purposes.
234 My discussion in the text focuses on common effects of pains. I could also focus on common causes of pain though – these would support the argument I want to make just as well.
235 Fodor (1997: 161-162).
236 For instance, see Baker (1993), Burge (1993), and Van Gulick (1993).
237 First presented in Fodor (1974), it receives further development in his (1989, (1991), and especially (1997).
238 This includes for instance Schiffer (1991) and Earman, Roberts, and Smith (2002).
239 Shapiro (2004: 145) explicitly rejects the claim that reductionism requires that all natural properties be (non-multiply realizable) physical properties. However, it seems to me that his argument shows just that certain common reductionist ambitions can be satisfied even if there are natural and multiply realizable (non-physical) properties. Another way a reductionist can respond to the IBE argument is by following Heil (2003: 40-41), who tries to help himself to properties that are projectible without being natural (Heil operates with a sparse conception of properties, and so would not put it in quite these terms). I do not think this is ultimately viable though.
240 See Kim’s (1998: 54, 129 n. 43) discussion of Block’s example that dormitivity might cause cancer. A true generalization to the effect that dormitivity is correlated with cancer would be relevantly like a C-generalization for our purposes, and the explanatory strategy Kim employs to account for how this correlation could obtain is relevantly like the explanatory strategy discussed in the text.
241 Kim (1992).
242 This conclusion follows on Shoemaker’s (1980) view of properties, for instance.
243 Kim (1992: 326). Kim slightly revises his causal inheritance principle in later works, but there is reason to begin by considering this principle.
244 Van Gulick (1992: 325). For similar thoughts see Fodor (1989), Baker (1993), and Burge (1993).
245 See Kim (1998: 77-80)
246 And perhaps also the existence of natural and multiply realizable physical properties, though this is potentially more controversial.
247 Shapiro (2000), (2004). Another influential argument against the actual multiple realization of mental properties is made by Bechtel and Mundale (1999).
248 Bates and Roe (2001).
249 Block and Fodor (1972).
250 Shapiro (2004: 59). In fairness, I should note that Block and Fodor (1972: 80) conclude their discussion of the location of the language center by writing, “Of course, the point is not conclusive, since there may be some relevant neurological property in common to the structures involved.” The present point, though, is that difference in hemispheric location, taken by itself, no more suggests actual multiple realization than does difference in color.
251 These examples are taken from his (1974) and (1989).
252 See Yablo (1992). See also his (1997) and (2003).
253 Others who hold this include LePore and Loewer (1987), Loewer (2001), and Bennett (2003).
254 Yablo (1992: 273) does not think that this goes all the way toward dissolving the problem, which is why we turns to the second component of his view.
255 Yablo (1992: 257).
256 In the present example (PP) is not meant to ensure by itself that the triangle’s being red causes the pecking. Rather, (PP) is meant merely to open the door to this possibility by declaring that the triangle’s being scarlet did not cause the pecking.
257 Compare Yablo’s (1992: 277-278) discussion of the epiphenomenalist neuroscientists.
258 Similarly, the triangle’s being scarlet is causally sufficient for Sophie’s pecking.
259 Below we will see that Yablo also counts as an overdeterminationist according to my second gloss on overdeterminationism, provided in the introduction to this chapter.
260 See the final section of Yablo (1992). Bealer (unpublished) extends this suggestion to cover not just intentional action but inference as well.
261 For more on the centrality of proportionality to Yablo’s account of mental causation, see his later (1997) and (2003), where proportionality continues to play a major role even while the role played by the determinable/determinate/ component of his view seems to be diminished.
262 Yablo (1992) introduces each of these causal notions.
263 See for instance Leiter and Miller (1994), who object along these lines to the counterfactual approach advanced by LePore and Loewer (1987), which is similar in important ways to the approach defended by Yablo.
264 I can actually make do with a weaker claim here: if Gilmore had been in pain but not in PH, he might have been in PH*. This would leave it open that he also might have been in PM or PM*. Given the standard analysis of counterfactuals, this might-claim would be enough to guarantee the falsity of (Sob). I make the stronger claim in the text to help clarify my argument by simplifying things, and because I think this stronger claim is true.
265 Fodor (1991) briefly considers this sort of response to an objection made by Schiffer (1991) – a paper which partly inspired my own arguments here. Ultimately, though, he sets it aside.
266 And so, it may be that if Gilmore had been in pain but not in PH he would have winced, or gnashed his teeth, or exclaimed “Ouch!”, or etc. It’s just that he would not have sobbed.
267 Following Lewis’s (1970: 432) lead, we might say that if PH* does such a near-perfect job at occupying pain’s causal role then it counts as a near realizer of pain, and so as a realizer simpliciter of pain.
268 This is widely held even by those philosophers who reject Davidson’s (1970) reasons for holding it.
269 Fodor (1974). See also the further discussion in Fodor (1987) and (1991).
270 The term is taken from Schiffer (1991).
271 See Fodor (1974: 438).
272 One thing to emphasize at this point is that the objection I have just laid out against Yablo is in no way an objection to standard counterfactual analyses of causation. One could coherently respond to my preceding objection by concluding that counterfactuals in the form of (Sob) are irrelevant to mental causation while at the same time holding that causation is ultimately to be analyzed in terms of other sorts of counterfactuals. Standard counterfactual analyses of causation, like Lewis (1973b), rely on counterfactuals of the form ~C > ~E, not (C & ~D) > E as we find in (Sob).
273 See for instance Shoemaker (2001) and Williamson (2000) and (2005). Shoemaker (2001: 81) appeals to proportionality, but explains proportionality in terms of his own subset model of realization rather than explicitly in terms of counterfactuals. Williamson (2000: 82) cites Yablo and relies on something like his notion of proportionality in arguing for the causal efficacy of knowledge, but as he later (2005) makes explicit, this reliance it not meant to include a reliance on counterfactuals like (Sob) and (Beep).
274 Pace Yablo (1992: 274), who claims that though mental events and the physical events which realize them do not compete with respect to causal relevance and causal sufficiency, they do compete for the role of cause.
275 Yablo (1997: 275, n. 22).
276 Shoemaker (1980).
277 Pereboom (2002) defends such a view.
278 Shoemaker (2001).
279 Presumably to account for views like Shoemaker’s, Kim has reformulated his causal principle in later works. See Kim (1998: 54, and 129 n. 45).
280 Putnam (1975b: 295-298).
281 Fodor (1989: 156).
282 Objection: but causal relations must be backed by patterns of some sort. Reply: well, there is a pattern of some sort even in the anxiety case. It is a pattern that PH’ instantiated anxieties cause accelerated heart rates.
283 For the point of the present discussion, it does not matter if there is no sharp distinction to be drawn between what qualifies as the cause of some effect and what qualifies as its background conditions.
284 I am assuming here that the set of natural properties is closed under conjunction, and thus that an instantiation of a conjunctive property of this sort can be a genuine event.
285 The term “causal structuralism” is taken from Hawthorne (2001), a paper to which this subsection’s discussion is heavily indebted.
286 This is part of Lewis’s Humean supervenience. See the introduction to his (1986c).
287 See for instance Shoemaker (1980), (1998) and (2001).
288 See especially Shoemaker (1998) and the appendix to Hawthorne (2001).
289 Hawthorn (2001: 369-370).
290 Shoemaker (1980).
291 The main reason for putting things in terms of composite events is to eventually connect up with Shoemaker’s own talk of parts and wholes, to be considered below.
292 For now, I will be ignoring what Shoemaker calls “backward-looking causal powers.” Such powers will become a focus in section 9.3 below.
293 Shoemaker (2001: 435-436) himself uses this part/whole talk in connection with realization.
294 The “necessarily” is redundant given our assumption of reductive causal structuralism, but it may help to throw it in there.
295 Inflating D-tubes, we can suppose, are unable to causally interact with neural events.
296 We will not have fully explained the supervenience of the mental on the physical until we explain why every mental event is realized by a physical event – why are there no instantiations of (a & b & c & d) that are not physically realized? However, there is no obvious reason to think the Shoemakeresque view will have special trouble accounting for this.
297 Yablo (1997: 275, n. 22).
298 Shoemaker (2001: 443).
299 Shoemaker (2001: 432).
300 Causal powers have a kind of physical intentionality, in George Molnar’s (2003) phrase. A P instantiation’s power to cause Q instantiations “points” to Q, as it were. Perhaps a more natural account of the exercise of causal power tokens would involve saying that a token is exercised just in case it causes the kind of effect it points at. However, I take it that the condition offered in the text entails this one: any effect a causal power token causes is either an effect of the kind it points at or one that it causes by virtue of causing an effect of the kind it points at.
301 If causal powers are causally efficacious, then causal power types themselves must have causal profiles. No problem: a causal power type’s causal profile will be the set having just itself as a member. Shoemaker (2001: 437) talks of some causal powers realizing others. If we understand realization in accordance with his own subset view, though, what are we to make of a realization relation alleged to obtain between causal powers themselves? Attributing causal profiles to causal powers themselves, as we are now doing so, would allow us to understand the realization relation between causal powers in precisely the same terms we understand the realization between natural properties and their instantiations.
302 Or perhaps the issue is analyticity rather than necessity. Block (1990) discusses the causal efficacy of dispositions in the context of worrying about the causal efficacy of causal-functional properties.
303 In the course of setting out his account of mental causation, Shoemaker (2001: 450) himself defends the causal efficacy of dormitivity.
304 See for instance Schiffer (1987: 150).
305 Yablo invariably avoids the cause locutions, always putting things in terms of causation itself. Bealer’s (unpublished) Yablo-inspired account puts things in terms of the cause though.
306 This is widely thought. See for instance Mill (1846), Lewis (1973b: 162), Schaffer (2003).
307 This is a way of answering one of the questions we posed to Yablo back in Chapter 8: why is it that a robust causal closure principle does not require physical events to be proportional to physical effects? Answer: because proportionality is metaphysically uninteresting. Of course, this is not an answer Yablo can give.
308 Merricks (2003: 56).
309 Olson (2002) notes in passing that Merricks’ argument will apply equally to events.
310 According to Merricks’ (2003: 58) definition, an object O is causally irrelevant to whether a collection of objects, the xs, cause a certain effect E just in case (i) O is not one of the xs, (ii) O is not a partial cause of E alongside the xs, (iii) none of the xs cause O to cause E, and (iv) O does not cause any of the xs to cause E.
311 Merricks (2003: 58-59) attempts to cast those inclined to deny his original argument’s validity as really denying (P3), the premise that there is no causal overdetermination. But the lighting of the match is not causally overdetermined in any straightforward, natural sense if it is caused by both the match’s being struck and its being struck and dry, while Merricks insists that when he speaks of causal overdetermination, he means the term in its most straightforward and natural sense.
312 Baxter (1988), Lewis (1991: 81-87).
313 Of course, mental events are parts of physical events on the Shoemakeresque view. But the composition is identity thesis is not that wholes are identical to some of their parts, to the exclusion of others.
314 Shoemaker (2001: 432-433, n. 8).
315 Shoemaker (2001: 433, n. 8).
316 Even after pure normative types and tokens have been introduced, I do not see a compelling reason not to understand realization in purely causal terms. Thus, I do not see a compelling reason to deny that the relation between belief properties and events and underlying physical properties and events is that of realization.
317 The preceding discussion is influenced by Yablo’s (1997) critique of “superproportionality.” Yablo’s critique is made within the context of a defense of the causal efficacy of wide mental states. There are close connections between my present defense of the causal efficacy of beliefs despite their having certain epiphenomenal components and certain defenses of the causal efficacy of wide mental states, including Yablo’s in certain respects. However, I will not try to draw those connections here.
318 Williams (1985). The proposal that follows is meant only to be very loosely based on Williams’s distinction.
319 We can “invoke rationality to explain happenings,” in Gibbard’s (2003) phrase. Despite coming at things from very different angles, there is a fair amount of overlap between the view presently being explored and Gibbard’s.
320 Heil (2003b: 28).
321 Heil (2003b: 28). Heil’s double aspect theory is developed at much greater length in his (2003).