In physicalism, the exclusion argument states that if the desire tom lifts one’s arm causes one to lift his or her arm, then no event is non-supervenient on ones desire to lift his or her arm and causes them to lift their arms. This paper therefore states and explains the exclusion argument for physicalism then evaluates the exclusion argument for physicalism. It also addresses the consequences of free will in the lives of the people.
There are three premises for the exclusion argument namely Downward Causation, Causal Closure, and Exclusion. Downward Causation refers to the causal relationship from a higher level of a given system to a lower level of the system, for example, the mental events that cause the physical events in the lives of the people. Causal closure, on the other hand, refers to the theory about the nature of causation in the physical realm that has significant ramifications with the metaphysics of the mind. Exclusion argument, on the other hand, refers to the exclusion argument that states that if the desire to lifts one’s arm causes one to lift his or her arm, then there is no event that is non-supervenient on ones desire to lift his or her arm and causes them to lift their arms.
Example of downward causation is the fact that the mental problems lead to physiological effects such as the increase in the blood pressure. An example of causal closure is how the law of gravity leads to many things on the surface of the earth to fall. An example of exclusion is the fact that one desires to lift his or her hand and ends up doing so.
According to the evidence that has been provided, the Exclusion Argument successfully establishes the conclusion and proves that physicalism is true. One of the controversial premises is the causal closure that argues that everything that happens in the world is influenced by the physical objects in the world that is everything that has a cause has a physical cause. One of the reasons for agreeing with this is that most of the things that happen in the world are physical hence they have a physical cause. It does not matter if it started in the mental realm, it has to come to the physical to happen. For instance, the desire for one to lift his or her hand will translate to physically lifting the hand and ending up with a lifted arm. I tend to disagree with the concept of downward causation because not everything that a person desires are accomplished.
The consequence in paragraph 4 above implies libertarianism meaning that one can act according to his or her desire and focusing on the events that he deems fit in his or her life at a certain point. It, therefore, means that an individual will escape if he or she is convinced that that is the best solution.
Shapiro, L. A. (2010). Lessons from Causal Exclusion 1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 81(3), 594-604.