Émergence et causalité descendante dans les sciences de l'esprit

Translated title of the contribution: Emergence and downward causation in the sciences of the mind

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Our first aim in this article is to draw up a general and descriptive overview of modern views of the relationship of body and mind. We emphasise in particular the way in which the classical controversy between dualists and monists at the end of the 1960's was transferred from the field of ontology and from the problematic of the constitution [of the mind] to that of epistemology and the problematic of the construction of theoretical models. On the basis of an idealised example of a reduction of a psychological theory to a neurobiological theory, we explicitate some of the reasons for this kind of shifting of the controversy, the essential correlate of which consists in the advent of new concepts for the relationship body-mind, unified under the nowadays widespread title of «non-reductive physicalism». We then point out the way this new type of antireductionist discourse constitutes a revisitation of the vocabulary of the emergence, inherited from the school of British emergentism at the start of the 20th century. Finally, we situate the controversy concerning the body-mind relationship at the present time: inter-level causation, and more particularly downward causation (transl. J. Dudley).

Translated title of the contributionEmergence and downward causation in the sciences of the mind
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)5-26
Number of pages22
JournalRevue philosophique de Louvain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Emergence and downward causation in the sciences of the mind'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this