- The expression ‘nonreductive materialism’ refers to a variety of positions whose roots lie in attempts to solve the mind-body problem. Proponents of nonreductive materialism hold that the mental is ontologically part of the material world; yet, mental properties are causally efficacious without being reducible to physical properties.
- After setting out a minimal schema for nonreductive materialism (NRM) as an ontological position, I’ll canvass some classical arguments in favor of (NRM).
- Then, I’ll discuss the major challenge facing any construal of (NRM): the problem of mental causation1, pressed by Jaegwon Kim.
- Finally, I’ll offer a new solution to the problem of mental causation2.
- First, a word about terminology. Unfortunately, nonreductive materialists do not share a standard terminology; indeed, they often use the same words (e.g., ‘realized by’) for different relations. I shall speak of mental properties and their instances (or instantiations). Following Kim’s construal of events as states of affairs at a time, I take mental states (or events) to be mental properties instantiated at a time. Mental events/states may be thought of as instantiations or instances of mental properties. As I am using these terms, mental events are to mental properties as tokens are to types.
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