Alyssa Ney: “Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism”

Hi Everybody,

Alyssa Ney will be giving a talk entitled “Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism” on Friday, October 31st. The talk will be held from 4:10-6:00pm in Room 507, Philosophy Hall (Columbia).The abstract for her talk is below. Hope to see you all there!

“Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism”
Alyssa Ney, University of Rochester

This talk explores a tension between two views that have come to have something like received status in contemporary metaphysics. The first is physicalism, the view that physics alone ought to provide an exhaustive guide to what there is. The second is a view often traced to Bertrand Russell, that there is no basis for causal notions in physics. The tension arises not because these views themselves are outright inconsistent, but rather because the primary argument for physicalism today is an empirical one, an argument resting on the accumulation of microphysical causal explanations for a diverse range of phenomena. The question is how to reasonably be a physicalist if one believes there isn’t microphysical causation. I examine two natural strategies for resolving this tension.

There will be a dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please email as soon as possible so that I can make the reservation for the appropriate number of people (please note that only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email

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