“Physical Causal Closure and the ‘Exclusion Principle’”

“Physical Causal Closure and the ‘Exclusion Principle’”

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Anthony Campbell 3-5-08 Reflection on Jaegwon Kim's “Physical Causal Closure and the ‘Exclusion Principle’” The point that Jaegwon Kim is explaining, physical causal closure, is that if a physical event has a cause or effect, it must have a sufficient physical cause or effect in turn. Kim states that this can remain true, given substance dualism: the wording of the above statement is such that it allows for there to exist immaterial substances, like souls, but maintains that all physical events, like actions of our bodies, must have some physical cause. Kim continues to argue that if this were not the case, then all the physical sciences would lose their foundations. It would mean that there very well may be some spiritual or “divine” immaterial substances that cause some or all of the physical phenomena that we observe. However, it is acknowledged that there might be some nonphysical causal agent for some physical event, so long as it is simultaneously accompanied by another physical causal agent as dictated by physical causal closure.
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Unformatted text preview: Now, according to the exclusion principle, in the case that there is both a physical and a nonphysical (mental) cause for some other physical event, overdetermination would be identified because the physical cause alone is both necessary and sufficient, thereby excluding the mental cause. This all makes sense; however, what of the creation of the universe? What caused matter to exist? The Big Bang theory and its spinoffs describe an event by which all the matter and physical laws and properties spontaneously came into being. Surely there must have been a cause. As a Christian, I think it acceptable to believe the physical universe came into being according to Gods will. I cannot conceive of some physical cause that precluded the physical domains existence, but mustnt there have been one, according to physical causal closure? Is the birth of the physical universe not the first physical event? Then when was the first?...
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This essay was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PHI 006 taught by Professor Sharpe during the Spring '08 term at Westmont.

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