|Source: Merricks - Objects and Persons, 2001, Chapter 4|
|Paper - Abstract|
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I argue that we human organisms - though composite - are not mere overdeterminers. We cause, by way of having conscious mental properties, some effects that our constituent atoms do not cause. (My defence of this claim involves considerations regarding supervenience1. I argue that our existing and having conscious mental properties does not supervene2 on the features of, and relations among, our microphysical parts.) Because mental causation makes us causally non-redundant, we are not eliminated by the overdetermination argument of Ch. 3.
This chapter raised a couple of issues that it did not adequately address. The first is mental epiphenomenalism. The second revolves around those things a human causes, but does not seem to cause directly by having a conscious mental state. (Imagine, for example, that I am thrown through a window. My atoms seem to shatter the window; I seem to shatter the window; and, as a result, the shattering of the window seems overdetermined.) These issues will be addressed in Chapter 6, where I continue the exploration of mental causation and the causal powers of human organisms begun in this chapter.
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