Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael Tooley

Second Advisor

Robert Rupert

Third Advisor

David Barnett


A leading view on mental ontology over the past three decades has been a non-reductive physicalist view (NRP), which affirms that the mental is irreducible, supervenient upon its physical correlate and causally efficacious, and also affirms a weakened articulation of the causal closure of physics. Jaegwon Kim's well known causal exclusion argument has challenged the plausibility of NRP on the grounds that the causal sufficiency of the mental's supervenience base either excludes the mental from causal efficacy or entails that any effect of the mental will be causally overdetermined. In this thesis I examine two response strategies to Kim's exclusion argument that deny the entailment of widespread overdetermination. In chapters two and three, I argue that both strategies fail and that NRP does indeed entail widespread overdetermination, making it an untenable theory. In the final section I motivate a novel mental ontology that avoids the problems that beset NRP.

Included in

Metaphysics Commons