Talk by Roland Poellinger

The History and Philosophy of Science research group of the Institute of Philosophy cordially invites you to Roland Poellinger's (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich) talk entitled "The Problem of Mental Causation in Non-Markovian Network Models". The talk is scheduled at 4pm on on the 5th of May.

Listing The Non-Reductivist’s Troubles with Mental Causation (1993) Jaegwon Kim suggested that the only remaining alternatives are the eliminativist’s standpoint or plain denial of the mind’s causal powers if we want to uphold the closure of the physical and reject causal overdetermination at the same time. Nevertheless, explaining stock market trends by referring to investors’ fear of loss is a very familiar example of attributing reality to both domains and acknowledging the mind’s interaction with the world: “if you pick a physical event and trace its causal ancestry or posterity, you may run into mental events” (Kim 1993). In this talk I will use the formal framework of Bayes net causal models in an interventionist understanding (as devised, e.g., by Judea Pearl in Causality, 2000) to make the concept of causal influence precise. Investigating structurally similar cases of conflicting causal intuitions will motivate a non-Markovian, yet natural extension of the interventionist Bayes net framework, Causal Knowledge Patterns, in which our intuition that the mind makes a difference finds an expression.

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