Causes as explanations: A critique

Theory and Decision 13 (4):293-309 (1981)
Abstract
This paper offers a critique of the view that causation can be analyzed in terms of explanation. In particular, the following points are argued: (1) a genuine explanatory analysis of causation must make use of a fully epistemological-psychological notion of explanation; (2) it is unlikely that the relatively clear-cut structure of the causal relation can be captured by the relatively unstructured relation of explanation; (3) the explanatory relation does not always parallel the direction of causation; (4) certain difficulties arise for any attempt to construct a nonrelativistic relation of causation from the essentially relativistic relation of explanation; and (5) 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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    David Sapire (1991). General Causation. Synthese 86 (3):321 - 347.

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