The Exclusion Problem, the Determination Relation, and Contrastive Causation*

Peter Menzies*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter critically examines the causal exclusion argument against nonreductive physicalism. It argues that a contrastive account of causation falsifies the exclusion principle when it is formulated in terms of causal sufficiency, but not when it is formulated in terms of difference-making causation. Nonetheless, the causal exclusion argument poses no threat to non-reductive physicalism. For a non-reductive physicalist is still able to reject its conclusion by challenging the principle of the causal closure of the physical. The principle's formulation in terms of difference-making causation makes a much stronger and less plausible claim than its formulation in terms of sufficient causation. For example, when a mental property is the difference-maker of a behavioural property, there may be a physical property that is causally sufficient for the behavioural property, but it need not be a difference-making cause of that property.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeing Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191705977
ISBN (Print)9780199211531
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Causal closure
  • Causal exclusion
  • Causal sufficiency
  • Contrastive causation
  • Difference-making
  • Non-reductive physicalism


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