Regularity theories reassessed

Philosophia 36 (3):327-354 (2008)
For a long time, regularity accounts of causation have virtually vanished from the scene. Problems encountered within other theoretical frameworks have recently induced authors working on causation, laws of nature, or methodologies of causal reasoning – as e.g. May (Kausales Schliessen. Eine Untersuchung über kausale Erklärungen und Theorienbildung. Ph.D. thesis, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, 1999), Ragin (Fuzzy-set social science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), Graßhoff and May (Causal regularities. In W. Spohn, M. Ledwig, & M. Esfeld (Eds.), Current issues in causation (pp. 85–114). Paderborn: Mentis, 2001), Swartz (The concept of physical law (2nd ed.)., 2003), Halpin (Erkenntnis, 58, 137–168, 2003) – to direct their attention back to regularity theoretic analyses. In light of the latest proposals of regularity theories, the paper at hand therefore reassesses the criticism raised against regularity accounts since the INUS theory of causation of Mackie (The cement of the universe. A study of causation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974). It is shown that most of these objections target strikingly over-simplified regularity theoretic sketches. By outlining ways to refute these objections it is argued that the prevalent conviction as to the overall failure of regularity theories has been hasty.
Keywords Causation  Regularity theory  Determinism  David Hume  John L. Mackie
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-007-9114-4
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References found in this work BETA
David Hume (2009/2004). An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), The Monist. Oxford University Press 112.

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Jens Harbecke (2011). Mechanistic Constitution in Neurobiological Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):267-285.
Alexander Reutlinger (2011). A Theory of Non-Universal Laws. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.

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