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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

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Most philosophical accounts of causation take causal relations to obtain between individuals and events in virtue of nomological relations between properties of these individuals and events. Such views fail to take into account the consequences of the fact that in general the properties of individuals and events will depend upon mechanisms that realize those properties. In this paper I attempt to rectify this failure, and in so doing to provide an account of the causal relevance of higher-level properties. I do this by critiquing one prominent model of higher-level properties – Kim’s functional model of reduction – and contrasting it with a mechanistic approach to higher-level properties and causation.


‘This is a peer reviewed version of the following article:

GLENNAN, S. (2010), Mechanisms, Causes, and the Layered Model of the World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 81: 362–381.


which has been published in final form at: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00375.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'.