What is the Exclusion Problem?


Traditionally conceived, the exclusion problem is faced by non-reductive materialist views which hold that mental causes are distinct from physical causes.

Many think that if materialism is true, then every physical effect must have a sufficient physical cause; but in that case the purportedly distinct mental causes can appear to be “excluded” as genuine causes because the physical causes “already” do all the “causal work”.

Exclusion can work both ways – some have argued that mental causes exclude physical causes – but most have thought that it is mental causes that are under threat.

Some have taken the exclusion argument to demonstrate the falsity of non-reductive materialism, but most have tried to defend non-reductive materialism by contending that the exclusion argument is unsound.

Key Works on the Subject

The exclusion argument was first proposed by Norman Malcolm (1968). After a brief flurry of interest in Malcolm’s argument (e.g. Goldman 1969; Martin 1971), discussion of the issue largely died off until Jaegwon Kim resurrected the exclusion argument and used it as the central component of his sustained critique of non-reductive materialism (1989; 1998; 2005).

Subsequent debates have had two main focal points: examining either the “horizontal” or “vertical” aspects of the non-reductive model (this distinction was first drawn in Donaldson 2019).

  • The horizontal approach concerns the nature of the mental-physical causal relation (e.g. Horgan 1997; Crisp & Warfield 2001; Kim 2007; Loewer 2007; List & Menzies 2009; Zhong 2014).
  • The vertical approach concerns the explaining of the holding of the mental-physical supervenience relation (e.g. Yablo 1992; Shoemaker 2007; Paul 2007; Walter 2007; Bennett 2008; Wilson 2009; Pereboom 2011).

An Introduction to the Subject

Sophie Gibb’s introduction to the volume she co-edited with Lowe and Ingthorsson (2013) is a good place to start, and that volume also contains much of the state of the art thinking on the exclusion problem.

Kim 2005, or Kim 2007 alongside Loewer 2007, are also a good way in.

Enyclopedia entries include Yoo 2007, Robb & Heil 2008 – although these survey the broader issue of mental causation, of which the exclusion problem is just one part.


  1. Exclusion Again.Karen Bennett – 2008 – In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 280–307.
  2. Kim’s Master Argument. [REVIEW] Thomas M. Crisp & Ted A. Warfield – 2001 – Noûs 35 (2):304–316.
  3. Vertical Versus Horizontal: What is Really at Issue in the Exclusion Problem?John Donaldson – 2019 – Synthese:1-16.
  4. Mental Causation and Ontology.Sophie GibbE. J. Lowe & R. D. Ingthorsson (eds.) – 2013 – Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. The Compatibility of Mechanism and Purpose.Alvin I. Goldman – 1969 – Philosophical Review 78 (October):468-82.
  6. Kim on Mental Causation and Causal Exclusion.Terence E. Horgan – 1997 – Philosophical Perspectives 11:165-84.
  7. Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim – 2005 – Princeton University Press.
  8. Causation and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim – 2007 – In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 227–242.
  9. The Myth of Non-Reductive Materialism.Jaegwon Kim – 1989 – Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 63 (3):31-47.
  10. Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind–Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim – 1998 – MIT Press.
  11. Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim – 2005 – Princeton University Press.
  12. Causation and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim – 2007 – In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 227–242.
  13. Nonreductive Physicalism and the Limits of the Exclusion Principle.Christian List & Peter Menzies – 2009 – Journal of Philosophy 106 (9):475-502.
  14. Mental Causation, or Something Near Enough.Barry M. Loewer – 2007 – In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 243–64.
  15. Mental Causation, or Something Near Enough.Barry M. Loewer – 2007 – In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 243–64.
  16. The Conceivability of Mechanism.Norman Malcolm – 1968 – Philosophical Review 77 (January):45-72.
  17. On the Conceivability of Mechanism.Michael Martin – 1971 – Philosophy of Science 38 (March):79-86.
  18. Constitutive Overdetermination.L. A. Paul – 2007 – In J. K. Campbell, M. O’Rourke & H. S. Silverstein (eds.), Causation and Explanation. MIT Press. pp. 4–265.
  19. Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism.Derk Pereboom – 2011 – Oxford University Press.
  20. Mental Causation.David Robb & John Heil – 2008 – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  21. Physical Realization.Sydney Shoemaker – 2007 – Oxford University Press UK.
  22. Determinables, Determinates, and Causal Relevance.Sven Walter – 2007 – Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):217-244.
  23. Determination, Realization and Mental Causation.Jessica Wilson – 2009 – Philosophical Studies 145 (1):149-169.
  24. Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo – 1992 – Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
  25. Mental Causation.Julie Yoo – 2007 – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  26. Sophisticated Exclusion and Sophisticated Causation.Lei Zhong – 2014 – Journal of Philosophy 111 (7):341-360.

Book: Mental Health and Well-being in Animals

Book Title:

Mental Health and Well-being in Animals.

Author(s): Dr Franklin D. McMillan (Editor).

Year: 2019.

Edition: Second (2nd).

Publisher: CABI Publishing.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.


The second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals.

Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists, it is comprehensive covering basic principles to mental wellness, emotional distress, suffering and mental illness, through to measurement and treatment.

With even more practical information and clinical pearls, this book remains invaluable to veterinary professionals, animal welfare researchers and advocates, and other animal caregivers.

Book: Mental Causation – A Counterfactual Theory

Book Title:

Mental Causation – A Counterfactual Theory.

Author(s): Thomas Kroedel.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Cambridge University Press.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.


Our minds have physical effects. This happens, for instance, when we move our bodies when we act. How is this possible?

Thomas Kroedel defends an account of mental causation in terms of difference-making: if our minds had been different, the physical world would have been different; therefore, the mind causes events in the physical world.

His account not only explains how the mind has physical effects at all, but solves the exclusion problem – the problem of how those effects can have both mental and physical causes. It is also unprecedented in scope, because it is available to dualists about the mind as well as physicalists, drawing on traditional views of causation as well as on the latest developments in the field of causal modelling.

It will be of interest to a range of readers in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. This book is also available as Open Access.

Book: Like-Minded – Externalism and Moral Psychology

Book Title:

Like-Minded – Externalism and Moral Psychology.

Author(s): Andrew Sneddon.

Year: 2011.

Edition: First (1st), Illustrated Edition.

Publisher: MIT Press.

Type(s): Hardcover.


A proposal that the cognitive processes that make us moral agents are partially constituted by features of our external environments. What are the psychological foundations of morality?

Historically, the issue has been framed as one of emotion versus reason. Hume argued that reason is the slave of the passions and so morality must be based on them; Kant argued that moral law is given by rational agents to themselves in virtue of their rationality.

The debate has continued in these terms to the present day. In Like-Minded, Andrew Sneddon argues that “reason” and “passion” do not satisfactorily capture all the important options for explaining the psychological foundations of morality. He proposes a third possibility: that the cognitive processes that make us moral agents are centrally constituted by features of our external environments.

Sneddon calls this the Wide Moral Systems Hypothesis (WMSH). The WMSH fits within an array of positions known as externalism or the Extended Mind Hypothesis, according to which the world outside our bodies is not just input to cognitive processes located within our brains but partially constitutes those processes.

After explaining the WMSH, Sneddon presents a series of more particular hypotheses about distinct aspects of our moral psychology: moral judgment, moral reasoning, the attribution of moral responsibility, and production of action. Sneddon revisits overlooked externalist aspects of moral psychology, noting the integration of agent and environment found in existing research.

With Like-Minded, Sneddon offers an innovative contribution to work in both moral psychology and the Extended Mind Hypothesis.

Book: Life Coaching For Dummies

Book Title:

Life Coaching For Dummies.

Author(s): Jeni Purdie.

Year: 2010.

Edition: Second (2nd).

Publisher: John Wiley.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


Become a life coach-for yourself and others-with this practical, informative guide

If you are interested in doing away with negative beliefs, making a significant change in your life, and, finally, create-and live-the life you want, life coaching is the key. In this practical introduction, you will learn the empowering techniques essential to life coaching-including putting together an action plan, getting your priorities straight, staying focused, defining true success, overcoming common obstacles, and coaching yourself to happiness.

With more information than ever before, this new updated edition includes material on emotional intelligence and active listening.

With insights on what to expect from life coaching and how to develop your own life coaching techniques, the book offers sound advice on what it takes to become a professional life coach.

If you simply want to create more balance in your life, become more productive, and enjoy a more fulfilling existence, Life Coaching For Dummies holds the answer.

Book: Learned Hopefulness – The Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression

Book Title:

Learned Hopefulness – The Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression.

Author(s): Dan Tomasulo, PhD.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


Cultivate hope with strengths-based practices grounded in positive psychology.

If you suffer from depression, sub-clinical depression, or low mood, you may have days where you feel like you have lost hope – hope that you will ever feel better, that the world will be a better place, or that you will someday find the happiness that always seems to elude you. You are not alone. Many people struggle with feelings of sadness and hopelessness – especially in our difficult, modern world. The good news is that you can change.

Learned Hopefulness offers powerful exercises grounded in evidence-based positive psychology to help you identify your strengths; ditch the self-limiting beliefs that diminish your capacity for positivity; and increase feelings of motivation, resiliency, and wellness. You will also learn to untangle yourself from rumination over past negative events, while shifting your perspective to the present moment and anticipating your future through a more positive lens.

With this unique, compassionate, and life-affirming guide, you will find the tools you need to break free from hopelessness and start living a life of happiness and vitality.

Mental Health Care, Policy, and COVID-19: The Renewed Role for Psychiatric and Addiction Nursing

Research Paper Title

Mental Health Care, Policy, and COVID-19: The Renewed Role for Psychiatric and Addiction Nursing.


Kovner (2020) has importantly highlighted the role that health care workers play in the 21st century to fight pandemics, such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak, in Canada and around the world. The heroic actions, determination, selflessness, and compassion of nurses and many health care providers worldwide have become the highlighted story of COVID-19 pandemic (Kovner, 2020). This is particularly significant, as 2020 has been called the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses to celebrate the birth of renowned nurse Florence Nightingale on her 200th anniversary. While this year has already signified the critical position of nurses in primary care, policy, and clinical practice, the role of psychiatric nurses and their contributions to primary care have often been overlooked by society, government policy makers, and many academics.

This is particularly true, as most provinces/states do not have dedicated bachelors’ degrees in psychiatric nursing, except for British Columbia (BC), Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Canada. Additionally, BC remains the only province/State in North America that has a fellowship program in Addiction nursing (Jozaghi & Dadakhah-Chimeh, 2018). Momentously, it was also the first province/state in North America to enact a provincial ministry dedicated to mental health and addiction (BC Gov News, 2017). This is remarkably significant in the current pandemic as many North American are asked to work from home, have been laid off, ordered to self-isolate, or practice social distancing. The cumulative effects of financial strain and self-isolation have already been reflected in a higher frequency of police calls for mental health and domestic assault cases in many provinces, territories, and states (Hong, 2020; Seebruch, 2020). The latest research also highlights a projected increase in suicide cases in North America linked to the COVID-19 pandemic (McIntyre & Lee, 2020). Self-isolation measures and the ongoing opioid crisis have also caused sharp increases in mortalities linked to synthetic opioids to their highest levels (Johnston, 2020). Finally, some researchers have warned about the potential misuse of alcohol during the current pandemic (Clay & Parker, 2020).

Therefore, the rise in mental health and domestic abuse calls, potential suicides, overdose deaths, and alcohol abuse serves as a reminder that COVID-19 is not our only health crisis. We must tackle and plan for the potential tsunami of mental health and addiction cases. While the Federal government in Canada has promised investment to improve long-term care, Kovner (2020) rightly pointed out that COVID-19 pandemic is about politics and policy and we similarly urge the governments and municipalities to invest to improve public health. More importantly, dedicated mental health care and training in psychiatric and addiction nursing is long overdue. We also recommend that cities, states, and federal housing agencies to increase funding for dedicated mental health and harm reduction programs during the current pandemic for people who have mental health or substance use disorders.


Dadakhah-Chimeh, Z. & Jozaghi, E. (2020) Mental Health Care, Policy, and COVID-19: The Renewed Role for Psychiatric and Addiction Nursing. Policy, Politics& Nursing Practice. doi: 10.1177/1527154420957305. Online ahead of print.

Book: Invitation to Psychology

Book Title:

Invitation to Psychology.

Author(s): Carole Wade, Carol Tavris, Samuel Sommers, and Lisa Shin.

Year: 2017.

Edition: Seventh (7th).

Publisher: Pearson.

Type(s): Paperback.


Invitation to Psychology, 7th Edition weaves scientific thinking and critical thinking into the fabric of psychological science.

Joining longtime authors Carole Wade and Carol Tavris, new co-authors Samuel Sommers and Lisa Shin (of Tufts University) call upon their research and teaching expertise to speak to today’s students. Their contributions include expanded gender coverage as well as engaging new cultural and pop-cultural examples.

By prompting students to separate fact from fiction and to distinguish wishful thinking from thinking wisely, the authors inspire students to ask questions and be willing to wonder – and help them become 21st-century thinkers.

Book: How Emotions Are Made

Book Title:

How Emotions Are Made – The Secret Life Of The Brain.

Author(s): Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Year: 2017.

Edition: First (1st); Main Market Edition.

Publisher: Macmillan.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.


When you feel anxious, angry, happy, or surprised, what is really going on inside you? Most scientists would agree that emotions come from specific parts of the brain, and that we feel them whenever they are triggered by the world around us. The thrill of seeing an old friend, the sadness of a tear-jerker movie, the fear of losing someone you love – each of these sensations arises automatically and uncontrollably within us, finding expression on our faces and in our behaviour, and carrying us away with the experience.

This understanding of emotion has been around since Aristotle. But what if it is wrong? In How Your Emotions Are Made, pioneering psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett draws on the latest scientific evidence to reveal that our ideas about emotion are dramatically, even dangerously, out of date – and that we have been paying the price. Emotions do not exist objectively in nature, Barrett explains, and they are not pre-programmed in our brains and bodies; rather, they are psychological experiences that each of us constructs based on our unique personal history, physiology and environment.

This new view of emotions has serious implications: when judges issue lesser sentences for crimes of passion, when police officers fire at threatening suspects, or when doctors choose between one diagnosis and another, they are all, in some way, relying on the ancient assumption that emotions are hardwired into our brains and bodies. Revising that conception of emotion is not just good science, Barrett shows; it is vital to our wellbeing and the health of society itself.

Book: Holistic Wellness In The NewAge

Book Title:

Holistic Wellness In The NewAge – A Comprehensive Guide To NewAge Healing Practices: Volume 01.

Author(s): Swatika Jain (Editor).

Year: 2015.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


A Comprehensive Guide To NewAge Healing Practices Tools, Techniques & Real Life Stories By Over 45 Accomplished Master Facilitators In the book “Holistic Wellness In The NewAge” we showcase various therapies in the Mind, Body & Soul domain…

This book covers the various topics of Holistic approach to wellness and the subject of energy medicine.

The publishers invited articles from accomplished healers who have been practicing various NewAge Therapies to contribute with articles supported by testimonials and personal experiences in whatever therapy they excel in..