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The Wonder of ConsciousnessUnderstanding the Mind through Philosophical Reflection$
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Harold Langsam

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015851

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015851.001.0001

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The Intelligibility of Consciousness II: The Causal Powers of Conscious States

The Intelligibility of Consciousness II: The Causal Powers of Conscious States

(p.71) 3 The Intelligibility of Consciousness II: The Causal Powers of Conscious States
The Wonder of Consciousness

Harold Langsam

The MIT Press

This chapter delineates between brute causation and intelligible causation. These intelligible relations are intended to be explanatory relations; the intrinsic properties in question are not themselves causal powers but are supposed to intelligibly explain why the relevant conscious states have some of their causal powers. Causal powers are connected to their underlying categorical properties by means of something extrinsic, particularly the laws of nature. Natural laws make sure that certain categorical properties will also have certain causal powers. It is important in this chapter to establish that laws of nature are brute or not intelligible, that is to say, they cannot be known a priori. Discovering laws of nature requires empirical knowledge about which categorical properties are constantly conjoined with which causal powers.

Keywords:   brute causation, intelligible causation, conscious states, causal powers, laws of nature, a priori, empirical knowledge

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