• Causal overdetermination occupies an uncomfortable place within all the major theories of causation. A natural solution to the problems it gives rise to would be to resolve overdetermination into preemption or joint causation. However, such a solution would seem to lead to individuate events in a fragile manner. The issue of such modal fragility is addressed and it is argued that events designated as effects are always fragile in a natural way and the putative problems of adopting modal fragilit…Read more
  • Supervenient Freedom and the Free Will Deadlock
    Disputatio (45): 219-243. 2017.
    Supervenient libertarianism maintains that indeterminism may exist at a supervening agency level, consistent with determinism at a subvening physical level. It seems as if this approach has the potential to break the longstanding deadlock in the free will debate, since it concedes to the traditional incompatibilist that agents can only do otherwise if they can do so in their actual circumstances, holding the past and the laws constant, while nonetheless arguing that this ability is compatible wi…Read more
  • Some recent arguments defending the genuine causal efficacy of the mental have been relying on empirical research on neuroprosthetics. This essay presents a critical analysis of these arguments. The problem of mental causation, and the basic idea and results of neuroprosthetics are reviewed. It is shown how appealing to the research on neuroprosthetics can be interpreted to give support to the idea of mental causation. However, it does so only in a rather deflationary sense: by holding the menta…Read more
  • Can Physics Make Us Free?
    Frontiers in Physics 5. 2017.
    A thoroughly physical view on reality and our common sense view on agency and free will seem to be in a direct conflict with each other: if everything that happens is determined by prior physical events, so too are all our actions and conscious decisions; you have no choice but to do what you are destined to do. Although this way of thinking has intuitive appeal, and a long history, it has recently began to gain critical attention. A number of arguments have been raised in defense of the idea th…Read more
  • The Five Marks of the Mental
    Frontiers in Psychology 8. 2017.
    The mental realm seems different to the physical realm; the mental is thought to be dependent on, yet distinct from the physical. But how, exactly, are the two realms supposed to be different, and what, exactly, creates the seemingly insurmountable juxtaposition between the mental and the physical? This review identifies and discusses five marks of the mental, features that set characteristically mental phenomena apart from the characteristically physical phenomena. These five marks (intentional…Read more
  • Is knowledge a natural kind?
    Philosophical Studies 142 (3). 2009.
    The project of treating knowledge as an empirical object of study has gained popularity in recent naturalistic epistemology. It is argued here that the assumption that such an object of study exists is in tension with other central elements of naturalistic philosophy. Two hypotheses are considered. In the first, “knowledge” is hypothesized to refer to mental states causally responsible for the behaviour of cognitive agents. Here, the relational character of truth creates a problem. In the second…Read more
  • The notion of causal explanation is an essential element of the naturalistic world view. This view is typically interpreted to claim that we are only licensed to postulate entities that make a causal difference , or have causal power . The rest are epiphenomena and hence eliminable from the correct view of reality. The worry that some entities and phenomena that we take for granted mental properties in particular turn out to be epiphenomenal, can be seen as stemming from this sort of naturalisti…Read more
  • Causal Exclusion and Multiple Realizations
    Topoi 33 (2): 525-530. 2014.
    A critical analysis of recent interventionist responses to the causal exclusion problem is presented. It is argued that the response can indeed offer a solution to the problem, but one that is based on renouncing the multiple realizability thesis. The account amounts to the rejection of nonreductive physicalism and would thus be unacceptable to many. It is further shown that if the multiple realizability thesis is brought back in and conjoined with the interventionist notion of causation, inter-…Read more
  • The most fundamental issue of the neurosciences is the question of how or whether the mind and the body can interact with each other. It has recently been suggested in several studies that current neuroimaging evidence supports a view where the mind can have a well-documented causal influence on various brain processes. These arguments are critically analyzed here. First, the metaphysical commitments of the current neurosciences are reviewed. According to both the philosophical and neuroscientif…Read more
  • Interventions on causal exclusion
    Philosophical Explorations 17 (2): 255-263. 2014.
    Two strains of interventionist responses to the causal exclusion argument are reviewed and critically assessed. On the one hand, one can argue that manipulating supervenient mental states is an effective strategy for manipulating the subvenient physical states, and hence should count as genuine causes to the subvenient physical states. But unless the supervenient and subvenient states manifest some difference in their manipulability conditions, there is no reason to treat them as distinct, which…Read more
  • Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals
    Erkenntnis 81 (5): 1031-1049. 2016.
    One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account…Read more
  • Natural emergence
    Complexity 17 (5): 44-47. 2012.
  • Does the Interventionist Notion of Causation Deliver Us from the Fear of Epiphenomenalism?
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2): 157-172. 2013.
    This article reviews the causal exclusion argument and confronts it with some recently proposed refutations based on the interventionist account of causation. I first show that there are several technical and interpretative difficulties in applying the interventionist account to the exclusion issue. Different ways of accommodating the two to one another are considered and all are shown to leave the issue without a fully satisfactory resolution. Lastly, I argue that, on the most consistent constr…Read more
  • Philosophy and the Front Line of Science
    The Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (1): 29-36. 2008.
    According to one traditional view, empirical science is necessarily preceded by philosophical analysis. Yet the relevance of philosophy is often doubted by those engaged in empirical sciences. I argue that these doubts can be substantiated by two theoretical problems that the traditional conception of philosophy is bound to face. First, there is a strong normative etiology to philosophical problems, theories, and notions that is difficult to reconcile with descriptive empirical study. Second, co…Read more
  • The Principle of Causal Exclusion Does Not Make Sense
    Philosophical Forum 44 (1): 89-95. 2013.
    The principle of causal exclusion is based on two distinct causal notions: causal sufficiency and causation simpliciter. The principle suggests that the former has the power to exclude the latter. But that is problematic since it would amount to claiming that sufficient causes alone can take the roles of causes simpliciter. Moreover, the principle also assumes that events can sometimes have both sufficient causes and causes simpliciter. This assumption is in conflict with the first part of the p…Read more