Kim V. Searle

832 WordsJun 16, 20184 Pages
Much like the course any sporting event is bounded by the rules of the game, the course of any philosophical discussion is bounded by the ideas accepted as axioms. A game of soccer in which the players were permitted to hold the ball in their hands would be radically different, even incomparable to a traditional game, even if all other factors (weather, location, player’s skill) were physically identical. In much the same way, although both begin with the same set of facts (materially closed universe, constant physical laws) Jaegwon Kim’s view on mental causation is radically different from Searle’s, because they approach the issue from different philosophical perspectives. Neither is wrong, if you reason using their principles. Neither is…show more content…
Their dissension stems not from one being fundamentally right or wrong, but from different assumptions. Kim accuses Searle of “Causal Over-Determination.” He sees Searle as claiming that not only does m(F) cause m(G), but also that F causes G in an equally real way. Since m(G) is the true cause of G, the F to G causation must be illusory. Searle could likewise accuse Kim of “Causal Over-Distinction,” arguing that m(F) is indistinguishable from F, and in that both together as one cause [m(G)+G]. In addition, Searle would say that Kim is making a fundamental mistake in thinking of mental states as being caused by physical states (related temporally), rather than existing simultaneously. This limits Kim’s thinking, as two events related causally in this way cannot by definition be the same event. Searle suggests that we include a sort of “permanent causation,” by which molecular structures doesn’t cause hardness, but rather is hardness. There is, as Searle rightly points out however, a ragged hole in Kim’s conclusion. Kim asserts, as if to appease us, that mental states are both epiphenomenal and causal. By describing mental states as “superveniently causal,” i.e. appearing to be causal based on the true causality of their microproperties, he has satisfied Hume’s requirements for causation, i.e. that causation itself is
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