The reduction of causal processes

Synthese 131 (1):99 - 128 (2002)
The principle that causes always render their effects more likely is fundamental to the enterprise of reducing facts of causation to facts about (objective) chances. This reductionist enterprise faces famous difficulties in accommodating common-sense intuitions about causal processes, if it insists on cashing out causal processes in terms of streams of events in which every event that belongs to the stream is a cause of the adjoining event downstream of it. I shall propose modifications to this way of cashing out causal processes, still well within the reductionist faith. These modifications will allow the reductionist to handle processes successfully, on the assumption that the reductionist proposal is itself otherwise satisfactory. I shall then argue that the reductionist enterprise lies squarely behind the Theory of Relativity, and so has all the confirmatory weight of Relativity behind it. However this is not all good news for reductionists. For throughout I shall simply assume that the reductionist proposal, to the effect that causes are just chance-raisers, is correct. AndI shall sidestep problems with that proposal as such. And so I shall show that, if in the end we find the reductionist proposal unsatisfactory, it cannot be on grounds of its treatment of causal processes as such. Thus, while I shall argue that causal processes pose no extra trouble for redutionists, I shall be making a case that all the action between reductionists and their opponents should be focused upon the proposal to reduce the two-term causal relation itself to relations amongst probabilities.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,570
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

51 ( #88,636 of 1,938,443 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #48,430 of 1,938,443 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.