Causation and Its Relation to 'Causal Laws'

Many have found attractive views according to which the veracity of specific causal judgements is underwritten by general causal laws. This paper describes various variants of that view and explores complications that appear when one looks at a certain simple type of example from physics. To capture certain causal dependencies, physics is driven to look at equations which, I argue, are not causal laws. One place where physics is forced to look at such equations (and not the only place) is in its handling of Green's functions which reveal point-wise causal dependencies. Thus, I claim that there is no simple relationship between causal dependence and causal laws of the sort often pictured. Rather, this paper explores the complexity of the relationship in a certain well-understood case
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DOI 10.2307/30115169
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