- When a person acts for a reason, mental events have causal effects. This makes it tempting, given various metaphysical considerations, to identify each (human) mental event with some biochemical event. But this token identity thesis is not mandatory and it is implausible. We can instead adopt a non-Cartesian form of dualism, according to which many mental events are causes distinct from any biochemical events, but persons are spatiotemporal things with physical and mental properties (that supervene1 on physical properties).
- Actions are themselves mental events (tryings) that typically cause bodily motions, which also have biochemical causes; and actions are typically caused by other mental events. This does not lead to an objectionable form of overdetermination, given the proposed sufficient condition for causation2, which is stated in terms of explanation. An especially relevant form of explanation involves subsuming events under ceteris paribus laws.
- The overall account avoids objections to standard covering-law (and regularity) conceptions of causation3.
- An appendix addresses questions about mental content, and how such questions bear on the token identity thesis.
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