David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophica 77 (1):69-96 (2006)
It is tempting to analyse causality in terms of just one of the indicators of causal relationships, e.g., mechanisms, probabilistic dependencies or independencies, counterfactual conditionals or agency considerations. While such an analysis will surely shed light on some aspect of our concept of cause, it will fail to capture the whole, rather multifarious, notion. So one might instead plump for pluralism: a different analysis for a different occasion. But we do not seem to have lots of different concepts of cause just one eclectic notion. The resolution of this conundrum, I think, requires us to accept that our causal beliefs are generated by a wide variety of indicators, but to deny that this variety of indicators yields a variety of concepts of cause. This focus on the relation between evidence and causal beliefs leads to what I call epistemic causality. Under this view, certain causal beliefs are appropriate or rational on the basis of observed evidence; our notion of cause can be understood purely in terms of these rational beliefs. Causality, then, is a feature of our epistemic representation of the world, rather than of the world itself. This yields one, multifaceted notion of cause.
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Citations of this work BETA
Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (2011). Generic Versus Single-Case Causality: The Case of Autopsy. [REVIEW] European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):47-69.
John Dupré (2013). Living Causes. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):19-37.
Raffaella Campaner & Maria Carla Galavotti (2012). Evidence and the Assessment of Causal Relations in the Health Sciences. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):27 - 45.
Jon Williamson (2013). How Can Causal Explanations Explain? Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
Jon Williamson (2011). Mechanistic Theories of Causality Part I. Philosophy Compass 6 (6):421-432.
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