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Alexander's Dictum--"to be is to have causal powers"--appears to furnish an argument against the reality of familiar medium-sized objects. For every time a familiar object appears to cause a familiar macro-event, it sets up a rival claim by its component microparticles to have caused the complex swarm of microphysical events that composes into that macro-event. But this argument, argues this paper, wrongly assumes that even after familiar objects are removed from the picture, there is a phenomenon of joint causation which unites all and only the microparticles within each familiar object.


Published in Topoi, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 163-171 (2003). The original publication is available at