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John Joseph Campbell
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$29,400 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2011 – 6/30/2011

Causation in Psychology

On an interventionist account of causation, to say that A is a cause of B is to say that were there to be an intervention on A, there would be a difference in the value of B. This is perhaps the guiding idea of experimental investigations of causation. Consider, however, areas central to philosophy of mind: phenomena of perceptual consciousness, the formation of belief on the basis of perception, and thought. Here it is not obvious what concept of 'intervention', if any, is appropriate. The argument of the planned book is that we can extend an interventionist account of causation to those phenomena. The first two chapters lay out the framework for discussing causation in general and mental causation in particular. The next three chapters use the framework in discussing the phenomena of perceptual experience, belief, and the process of thinking. The book would be complete within the time of a fellowship, as it builds on current work.