1. bookVolume 12 (2020): Issue 59 (December 2020)
Journal Details
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Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2017
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4 times per year
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English
access type Open Access

The Proportionality Argument and the Problem of Widespread Causal Overdetermination

Published Online: 13 Mar 2021
Page range: 331 - 355
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The consensus is that repeatable artworks cannot be identified with particular material individuals. A perennial temptation is to identify them with types, broadly construed. Such identification, however, faces the so-called “Creation Problem.” This problem stems from the fact that, on the one hand, it seems reasonable to accept the claims that (1) repeatable artworks are types, (2) types cannot be created, and (3) repeatable artworks are created, but, on the other hand, these claims are mutually inconsistent. A possible solution to the Creation Problem is to argue that claim (2) can be rejected because (a) the only motivation for it is that a type, being abstract, cannot stand in causal relations, but (b) this motivation is ungrounded, since types can, in fact, stand in such relations. Clearly, in order for this solution to be successful, it is necessary to substantiate the possibility of types to be causally efficacious. In this essay, I examine an attempt to do this with the help of Yablo’s principle of proportionality, which has been undertaken by Walters (2013) and, more recently, Juvshik (2018). Although the argument they advance may seem to provide strong support for the causal efficacy of types, I think it actually fails to do this. To explain why this is so, I first show that this argument commits us to the existence of widespread causal overdetermination involving types and then argue that this commitment is both epistemically and ontologically problematic.

Keywords

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