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Mental causation.

Gibb, S. C. (2014) 'Mental causation.', Analysis., 74 (2). pp. 327-338.


How could mental entities causally affect, or be affected by, physical entities? Identifying a relationship between mental and physical entities that is both consistent with their causal interaction and independently plausible is one of the perennial problems in the philosophy of mind. In the contemporary mental causation debate, there is not one single problem of mental causation, but several. These include the problem of psychophysical causation generated by the causal closure argument, the Davidsonian problem of how one can allow psychophysical causal interaction given the anomalism of the mental, Kim’s ‘pairing problem’ for substance dualists, and the problem of the causal relevance of mental content. In this paper, I focus on the causal closure argument (since discussion of it has dominated the contemporary mental causation debate) and survey some of the important recent responses to it. I begin by considering the problem of mental causation that this argument presents for dualists and for physicalists (§1). I then survey non-reductive physicalist responses (§2) and dualist responses (§3).

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Analysis following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Sophie C. Gibb (2014) Mental Causation. Analysis, 74 (2): 327-338 is available online at:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:12 June 2014
Date of first online publication:April 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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