DOES THE ARGUMENT FROM CAUSAL TRAJECTORIES UNDERMINE LOCAL SUPERVENIENCE OF MENTAL ON PHYSICAL?

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Oprovergaet li argument kauzal'nyh traektoriy lokal'nuyu superventnost' mental'nogo nad fizicheskim?
Author(s): 
Dmitry Volkov
Moscow Center for Consciousness studies
Issue number: 
No. 2 (Vol. 44)
Pages: 
166-182
Abstract: 

Thesis of supervenience (TS) of mental on physical is a common ground for many contemporary analytic philosophers. The argument from the causal trajectories presented by V. Vasilyev (ACT 1) is challenging this principle, in particular the local supervenience. In this paper the author defends the thesis of supervenience. He demonstrates that if the argument from causal trajectories undermines the local supervenience, it also undermines the global supervenience of mental on physical. This is a kind of reductio ad absurdum of the initial argument. However this may sound inconclusive. The author presents a more reliable way to disapprove the argument – proof by contradiction. In this paper he suggest another argument (ACT 2) which is analogous the ACT 1, but which leads to obviously false conclusions. If two arguments are analogous, then both arguments must be false.

The author of this paper considers possible objections. The first objection has to do with qualia. One may suggest that two arguments are different because of the lack of qualia in the ACT 2. However it is demonstrated that qualia plays no significant role in the first argument as well. So it doesn’t make a relevant difference. The second objection is the superficial absurdity of the consequences of TS suggested by Vasilyev, namely the thought experiment with the two identical persons with different autobiographical causal trajectories. This paradox is supposed to demonstrate the inconsistency of TS. However it is shown in the paper that there are no inconsistencies and the thought experiment doesn’t demonstrate that the TS is false. Thus thesis for supervenience is defended.

Keywords: 
Supervenience, mind-body problem, interactionism, mental and physical properties, argument from causal trajectories.
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DOI: 
10.5840/eps201544216
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