Graduate studies at Western
Minds and Machines 16 (3):239-257 (2006)
|Abstract||Is the common cause principle merely one of a set of useful heuristics for discovering causal relations, or is it rather a piece of heavy duty metaphysics, capable of grounding the direction of causation itself? Since the principle was introduced in Reichenbach’s groundbreaking work The Direction of Time (1956), there have been a series of attempts to pursue the latter program—to take the probabilistic relationships constitutive of the principle of the common cause and use them to ground the direction of causation. These attempts have not all explicitly appealed to the principle as originally formulated; it has also appeared in the guise of independence conditions, counterfactual overdetermination, and, in the causal modelling literature, as the causal markov condition. In this paper, I identify a set of difficulties for grounding the asymmetry of causation on the principle and its descendents. The first difficulty, concerning what I call the vertical placement of causation, consists of a tension between considerations that drive towards the macroscopic scale, and considerations that drive towards the microscopic scale—the worry is that these considerations cannot both be comfortably accommodated. The second difficulty consists of a novel potential counterexample to the principle based on the familiar Einstein Podolsky Rosen (EPR) correlations in quantum mechanics.|
|Keywords||common cause principle Reichenbach quantum nonlocality causal asymmetry direction of time|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
David Papineau (1992). Can We Reduce Causal Direction to Probabilities? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:238 - 252.
Brad Weslake (forthcoming). A Partial Theory of Actual Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Iain Martel, Probabilistic Empiricism: In Defence of a Reichenbachian Theory of Causation and the Direction of Time.
Lei Zhong (2011). Can Counterfactuals Solve the Exclusion Problem? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):129-147.
Frank Arntzenius (1990). Physics and Common Causes. Synthese 82 (1):77 - 96.
Huw Price (1992). The Direction of Causation: Ramsey's Ultimate Contingency. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:253 - 267.
Huw Price (1996). Backward Causation and the Direction of Causal Processes: Reply to Dowe. Mind 105 (419):467-474.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads43 ( #30,853 of 738,410 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #37,338 of 738,410 )
How can I increase my downloads?