Salle 2, Site Marcelin Berthelot
En libre accès, dans la limite des places disponibles

Président de séance : Maryam Ebrahimi Dinani (Collège de France)


Stephen Yablo has offered an influential solution to the problem raised by Kim’s “exclusion argument” according to which mental events, and more generally higher-level events of any sort, are never causes of anything. Kim’s argument has the Closure and Exclusion principles as premises. Yablo’s solution consists in interpreting the word “cause”, as it appears in these premises, as meaning “proportional cause”, which makes the denial of Closure plausible. I compare this solution with Karen Bennett’s, which consists in denying Exclusion. I suggest a reply to the Exclusion argument in the framework of causal influence between variables, represented by structural equations, which combines elements of both Yablo’s and Bennett’s solutions. Closure can be accepted for causation, whereas Exclusion is plausible for “specific causation”. Specific causation plays, at the level of general variables, a role similar to the role Yablo’s concept of proportional causation plays at the level of particular events.

Max Kistler

Max Kistler is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and member of IHPST (Institut d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences et des techniques). Max got his Master in physics at the university of Munich, and studied philosophy in Munich, Montpellier and Paris, where he earned his PhD in 1995. He held positions in Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand, Paris-Nanterre, and Grenoble. His research topics include causation, powers and dispositions, laws of nature, natural kinds, and reduction. He is the author of Causation and Laws of Nature (Routledge, 2006), L’Esprit matériel. Réduction et émergence (Ithaque, 2016), coauthor (with A. Barberousse and P. Ludwig), of La Philosophie des sciences au XXe siècle (Flammarion, 2000), coeditor (with B. Gnassounou) of Dispositions and Causal Powers (Ashgate, 2007).


Max Kistler

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHPST