Can Indirect Causation be Real?

Metaphysica 8 (2):111-122 (2007)
Abstract
Causal realists maintain that the causal relation consists in something more than its relata. Specifying this relation in nonreductive terms is however notoriously difficult. Michael Tooley has advanced a plausible account avoiding some of the relation’s most obvious difficulties, particularly where these concern the notion of a cross-temporal connection. His account distinguishes discrete from nondiscrete causation, where the latter is suitable to the continuity of cross-temporal causation. I argue, however, that such accounts face conceptual difficulties dating from Zeno’s time. A Bergsonian resolution of these difficulties appears to entail that, for the causal realist, there can be no indirect causal relations of the sort envisioned by Tooley. A consequence of this discussion is that the causal realist must conceive all causal relations as ultimately direct
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