The Causal Theory of Properties

Dissertation, UCL (2003)
This thesis investigates the causal theory of properties (CTP). CTP states that properties must be understood via the complicated network of causal relations to which a property can contribute. If an object instantiates the property of being 900C, for instance, it will burn human skin on contact, feel warm to us if near, etc. In order to best understand CTP, I argue that we need to distinguish between properties and particular instances of them. Properties should be analysed via the causal relations their instances stand in, it is this oven’s being 900C which causes my skin to burn, etc. The resulting CTP offers an illuminating analysis of properties. First, it provides a criterion of identity for properties, their identity being analysed via the causal roles property instances realise. It also offers an account of how property instances are sorted into genuine kinds, in cases of determinables and determinates. I show how we can distinguish between genuine and non-genuine similarity via the property instances of objects. The implications of CTP for an analysis of causation are then investigated. I argue that the proposed CTP offers a plausible causal ontology. The fine-grainedness of property instances enables us to capture the subtleties involved in questions concerning what causes what. But, even more importantly, CTP enables us to reconcile two highly attractive theses concerning the causal relation. The first of these is the generalist’s thesis. This states that causal relations are part of more general patterns. The second of these is the singularist’s thesis. This states that the causal connection between two entities, doesn’t depend upon anything extraneous to that relation. I argue that by combining CTP with an ontology of tropes, we can thereby respect what is driving both singularism and generalism.Logic & Metaphysics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
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 Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,661
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

No references found.

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

30 ( #105,336 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

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.