# Analysis Of Epiphenominalism By Trenton Merricks

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In the chapter “Epiphenominalism and Eliminativism", from Objects and Persons, Trenton Merricks present an argument against the existence of baseballs. His argument revolves around a scenario of a baseball hitting the window and causing it to shatter. According to him, the baseball did not cause the window to shatter, its atoms did, because they have the causal powers and the baseball does not (Merricks, p. 61). Merricks uses the Alexander's dictum “to be real is to have causal powers” (p. 65), to make his argument that since the baseball itself has no causal powers, there is no good reason to believe it exists (p. 73). In his paper, Merricks first explains the causal principle; then, he defends each premiss of his argument by responding to …show more content…

According to him, since each of the window striking atoms cause something, these atoms together causes the cumulative effect of shattering the window (p. 62). An objection states that just like the atoms in the baseball are not the same as the baseball itself, the atoms of the scattered window are not the same as window itself. So, what if the atoms of the baseball caused the scattering of the atoms of the window and the baseball itself caused the shattering of the window. This would result in distinct effects and causes, and neither will overdetermine the other (p. 63). Merricks replies to this by saying that in his argument, the "shattering of the window” is the same as “scatterings”, but this objection is considering it as two distinct events (p. 63). However, if we suppose that both of them are distinct, then atoms in the baseball would have multiple effects like multiple scatterings and window's shattering (p. 64). Merricks frames his argument into the following form: “If some objects cause events v1,..., vn and v1,..., vn compose the event V, then those objects cause V.” (p. 65). In other words, if the atoms cause the scatterings and if there is a composite event of window's shattering, then the atoms caused the window shattering swell (p. …show more content…

Pseudo-determination is when an object causing an event is analyzed by its parts causing that event (p. 69). The objection states that the baseball shattering the window is the same as its parts shattering the window (p. 69). To this, Merricks disagrees and states that it is true that when the baseball shatters the window, it participates in the window shattering event. However, the baseball shattering the window (event), is not the same as the atoms shattering the window. (p. 69) An object and an event do not do the same kind of causal work; thus, does not result in overdetermination. (p. 68) On the other hand, the baseball and atoms both are classified under "objects" and do the same kind of causal work; thus, both causing the same thing is a circular argument (p. 69). An object's causing something is completely different from its parts causing something; therefore, overdetermination denied by the third premise is real overdetermination. (p.