Mental Causation

Cei Maslen, Terry Horgan, Helen Daly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mental causation is held so dear because it seems essential in order for people to do anything (at least voluntarily). If one accepts Davidson's view that motivating reasons are causes, then (as Kim puts it) 'agency is possible only if mental causation is possible'. Many kinds of mental items are supposed to be causes: beliefs, desires, sensations, emotions, the contents of beliefs and desires, and the phenomenal mental properties of sensations and beliefs (i.e. those properties such that there is 'something it is like' to experience them, if sensations and beliefs have such properties). Not only are mental states supposed to be causes (and effects), but so also are mental properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Causation
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191577246
ISBN (Print)9780199279739
StatePublished - Jan 2 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Contents of beliefs
  • Emotions
  • Mental causation
  • Mental properties
  • Mental states
  • Sensations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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