Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eddy Nahmias

Second Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Third Advisor

Dan Weiskopf


Jaegwon Kim’s Exclusion Problem holds that the nonreductive physicalist position is untenable. If the mental and the physical are distinct and both cause their effects, then it seems that their effects were caused twice over. I argue that the nonreductive physicalist should reject the Exclusion principle—a position called Causal Compatibilism. I appeal to our concepts of causal sufficiency and difference making in order to distinguish cases of mental causation, epiphenomenalism, and overdetermination. I appeal to James Woodward’s Interventionist framework to individuate causal difference-makers. Mental causation involves two sufficient causes but only one difference-maker. Given that overdetermination involves two sufficient causes and two difference-makers, the Exclusion principle fails to distinguish between overdetermination and mental causation and so, it is false. I conclude that by rejecting the Exclusion principle, the nonreductive physicalist can get out of the Exclusion Problem.