Causes as Explanations: A Critique

Theory and Decision 13 (4):293 (1981)
This paper offers a critique of the view that causation can be analyzed in terms of explanation. In particular, the following points are argued: a genuine explanatory analysis of causation must make use of a fully epistemological-psychological notion of explanation; it is unlikely that the relatively clear-cut structure of the causal relation can be captured by the relatively unstructured relation of explanation; the explanatory relation does not always parallel the direction of causation; certain difficulties arise for any attempt to construct a nonrelativistic relation of causation from the essentially relativistic relation of explanation; and to analyze causation as explanation is to embrace a form of ???causal idealism???, the view that causal connections are not among the objective features of the world. The paper closes with a brief discussion of the contrast between the two fundamentally opposed viewpoints about causality, namely causal idealism and causal realism
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DOI 10.1007/BF00126965
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David Sapire (1991). General Causation. Synthese 86 (3):321 - 347.
Paul J. H. Schoemaker (1991). The Strategy of Optimality Revisited. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):237-245.
James E. Mazur (1991). Straining the Word “Optimal. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):227.

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