Downward causation

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In philosophy, downward causation is a causal relationship from higher levels of a system to lower-level parts of that system: for example, mental events acting to cause physical events,[1] The term was originally coined in 1974 by the philosopher and social scientist Donald T. Campbell.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Øistein Schmidt Galaaen (2006). "The Disturbing Matter of Downward Causation: A Study of the Exclusion Argument and its Causal-Explanatory Presuppositions" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  2. ^ "Downward Causation". Principia Cybernetica. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Campbell, Donald T. (1974) "Downward causation in hierarchically organised biological systems". In Francisco Jose Ayala and Theodosius Dobzhansky (Eds.), Studies in the philosophy of biology: Reduction and related problems, pp. 179–186. London/Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Campbell, Donald T. "Evolutionary Epistemology", in P. A. Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Karl Popper (Open Court, LaSalle, Il, 1974). pp. 413–463