Perception, Causal Understanding, and Locality

In Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman & Naomi Eilan (eds.), Perception, Causation, and Objectivity. Oxford University Press 207 (2011)
Contemporary philosophical debates about causation are dominated by two approaches, which are often referred to as difference-making and causal process approaches to causation, respectively. I provide a characterization of the dialectic between these two approaches, on which that dialectic turns crucially on the question as to whether our common sense concept of causation involves a commitment to locality – i.e., to the claim that causal relations are always subject to spatial constraints. I then argue that we can extract from existing work on perceptual judgement (specifically work that invokes the notion of a simple theory of perception) materials for an argument in favour of a positive answer to that question, and that this work can also help to bring out a distinctive kind of role that a commitment to locality plays in our reasoning about causal relationships.
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