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Summary Bertrand Russell argued that causation is “a relic of a bygone age,” famously comparing it to the British monarchy in that each survives “only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm”. Russell’s contention is that fundamental physics simply does not concern itself with anything suitably related to our everyday notion of cause. Though he later grew more accepting of causal terms in science, his early eliminativist attitude has proven popular among philosophers of science. A contemporary variant of this position, known as 'neo-Russellianism' is the view that causation is a non-fundamental, higher-level phenomenon, sharing with Russell the view that there are no fundamental causal facts, e.g. in the domain of fundamental physics. 
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  1. Causation in Physics, Causation in Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - manuscript
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  2. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  3. On the Argument from Physics and General Relativity.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):333-373.
    I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity has need of a causal entity, and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
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  4. No Microphysical Causation? No Problem: Selective Causal Skepticism and the Structure of Completeness-Based Arguments for Physicalism.Matthew Haug - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1187-1208.
    A number of philosophers have argued that causation is not an objective feature of the microphysical world but rather is a perspectival phenomenon that holds only between “coarse-grained” entities such as those that figure in the special sciences. This view seems to pose a problem for arguments for physicalism that rely on the alleged causal completeness of physics. In this paper, I address this problem by arguing that the completeness of physics has two components, only one of which is causal. (...)
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  5. Fundamental Causation: Physics, Metaphysics, and the Deep Structure of the World.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2019 - Routledge.
    Fundamental Causation addresses issues in the metaphysics of deterministic singular causation, the metaphysics of events, property instances, facts, preventions, and omissions, as well as the debate between causal reductionists and causal anti-reductionists. The book also pays special attention to causation and causal structure in physics. Weaver argues that causation is a multigrade obtaining relation that is transitive, irreflexive, and asymmetric. When causation is singular, deterministic and such that it relates purely contingent events, the relation is also universal, intrinsic, and well-founded. (...)
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  6. Indispensability, Causation and Explanation.Sorin Bangu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (2):219-232.
    When considering mathematical realism, some scientific realists reject it, and express sympathy for the opposite view, mathematical nominalism; moreover, many justify this option by invoking the causal inertness of mathematical objects. The main aim of this note is to show that the scientific realists’ endorsement of this causal mathematical nominalism is in tension with another position some of them also accept, the doctrine of methodological naturalism. By highlighting this conflict, I intend to tip the balance in favor of a rival (...)
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  7. Big Data, Epistemology and Causality: Knowledge in and Knowledge Out in EXPOsOMICS.Stefano Canali - 2016 - Big Data and Society 3 (2).
    Recently, it has been argued that the use of Big Data transforms the sciences, making data-driven research possible and studying causality redundant. In this paper, I focus on the claim on causal knowledge by examining the Big Data project EXPOsOMICS, whose research is funded by the European Commission and considered capable of improving our understanding of the relation between exposure and disease. While EXPOsOMICS may seem the perfect exemplification of the data-driven view, I show how causal knowledge is necessary for (...)
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  8. Review of Mathias Frisch's Causal Reasoning in Physics. [REVIEW]Matt Farr - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4).
    Review of 'Causal Reasoning in Physics' by Mathias Frisch for British Journal for Philosophy of Science.
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  9. Microphysical Causation and the Case for Physicalism.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):141-164.
    Physicalism is sometimes portrayed by its critics as a dogma, but there is an empirical argument for the position, one based on the accumulation of diverse microphysical causal explanations in physics, chemistry, and physiology. The canonical statement of this argument was presented in 2001 by David Papineau. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate a tension that arises between this way of understanding the empirical case for physicalism and a view that is becoming practically a received position in philosophy (...)
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  10. Causal Realism in the Philosophy of Mind.Ben Gibran - 2014 - Essays in Philosophy 15 (2):299-313.
    Causal realism is the view that causation is a structural feature of reality; a power inherent in the world to produce effects, independently of the existence of minds or observers. This article suggests that certain problems in the philosophy of mind are artefacts of causal realism; because they presuppose the existence or possibility of a mind-independent causal nexus between the ‘physical’ and the ‘mental’. These dilemmas include the 'hard problem' of consciousness, and the problems of free will and mental causality. (...)
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  11. Causação e Física Clássica: existe possibilidade de conciliação?Túlio Roberto Xavier de Aguiar - 2013 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (3):353-364.
    In this work, I analyze our concept of cause in the face of criticism of Bertrand Russell in his article “On the Notion of Cause”. For Russell, there is an estrangement between the notion of cause and mature science of physics. The word cause (and its correlates) would not be used in physics, thus eliminating the main justification of philosophy for his job—the foundation of science. Thus, the various causal notions and the principle of causality should be abandoned by philosophers (...)
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  12. A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ time symmetry’ (...)
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  13. ‘The Most Sacred Tenet’? Causal Reasoning in Physics.Mathias Frisch - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):459-474.
    According to a view widely held among philosophers of science, the notion of cause has no legitimate role to play in mature theories of physics. In this paper I investigate the role of what physicists themselves identify as causal principles in the derivation of dispersion relations. I argue that this case study constitutes a counterexample to the popular view and that causal principles can function as genuine factual constraints. Introduction Causality and Dispersion Relations Norton's Skepticism Conclusion.
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  14. Physical Causation and Difference-Making.Alyssa Ney - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):737-764.
    This paper examines the relationship between physical theories of causation and theories of difference-making. It is plausible to think that such theories are compatible with one another as they are aimed at different targets: the former, an empirical account of actual causal relations; the latter, an account that will capture the truth of most of our ordinary causal claims. The question then becomes: what is the relationship between physical causation and difference-making? Is one kind of causal fact more fundamental than (...)
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  15. Causal Fundamentalism in Physics.Henrik Zinkernagel - 2009 - In Mauricio Suarez, Mauro Dorato & Miklos Redei (eds.), EPSA Philosophical Issues in the Sciences · Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association. Springer. pp. 311--322.
    Norton has recently argued that causation is merely a useful folk concept and that it fails to hold for some simple systems even in the supposed paradigm case of a causal physical theory – namely Newtonian mechanics. The purpose of this article is to argue against this devaluation of causality in physics. My main argument is that Norton’s alleged counterexample to causality within standard Newtonian physics fails to obey what I shall call the causal core of Newtonian mechanics. In particular, (...)
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  16. Interventionism, Control Variables and Causation in the Qualitative World.John Campbell - 2008 - Philosophical Issues 18 (1):426-445.
  17. Do the Causal Principles of Modern Physics Contradict Causal Anti-Fundamentalism?John D. Norton - 2007 - In Peter Machamer & Gereon Wolters (eds.), Thinking about Causes: From Greek Philosophy to Modern Physics.
    In Norton(2003), it was urged that the world does not conform at a fundamental level to some robust principle of causality. To defend this view, I now argue that the causal notions and principles of modern physics do not express some universal causal principle, brought to light by discoveries in physics. Rather they merely assert that, according to relativity theory, spacetime has an invariant velocity, that of light; and that theories of matter admit no propagations faster than light.
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  18. Notions of Cause: Russell’s Thesis Revisited.Don Ross & David Spurrett - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):45-76.
    We discuss Russell's 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell's application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell's conclusion (...)
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  19. Causation, Physics and the Constitution of Reality: Russell’s Republic Revisited.Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    The difference between cause and effect seems obvious and crucial in ordinary life, yet missing from modern physics. Almost a century ago, Bertrand Russell called the law of causality 'a relic of a bygone age'. In this important collection 13 leading scholars revisit Russell's revolutionary conclusion, discussing one of the most significant and puzzling issues in contemporary thought.
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  20. Isolation and Folk Physics.Adam Elga - 2005 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    There is a huge chasm between the notion of lawful determination that figures in fundamental physics, and the notion of causal determination that figures in the "folk physics" of everyday objects. In everyday life, we think of the behavior of an ordinary object as being determined by a small set of simple conditions. But in fundamental physics, no such conditions suffice to determine an ordinary object's behavior. What bridges the chasm is that fundamental physical laws make the folk picture of (...)
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  21. Warum Kommen "Mentale Ursachen" Physikalischen Erklärungen Eigentlich Nicht in Die Quere? Einige Grundsätzliche Überlegungen Zur Verwendung des Ausdrucks "a Verursacht B" Im Umkreis Moderner Naturwissenschaftlicher Theorien.Bernd Ludwig - 2002 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 65 (1):169-194.
    A careful examination of the concept of a "physical law" in modern experimental science reveals that "cause" is a purely metatheoretical term in physics: Causal knowledge is merely pre-nomological knowledge about the explanatory and predictive relevance of our nomological knowledge, and that is: of our theories. While effects are facts, that is, events under a certain (theory-dependent) description, causes are just events. Causal talk comes into play only when physical explanations of certain facts fail or are (at the time being) (...)
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  22. Causation: A Matter of Life and Death.John Earman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (1):5-25.
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  23. Studies in the Nature of Facts.Causality.M. H. Fisch - 1935 - Philosophical Review 44 (6):590.
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  24. The Idea of Cause.A. C. Ewing - 1929 - Philosophy 4 (16):453-.
    Some modern thinkers have supposed that “cause” is an outworn notion, or at least that it is one of which modern science has no need. This is due mainly to the discovery that, while the scientist can give us general laws as to what in fact happens, he cannot help us to discern the reason for the laws or the inward nature of the forces on which they depend. He can tell us the “that” but not the “why”; he cannot (...)
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  25. On the Notion of Cause.Bertrand Russell - 1913 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 13:1-26.
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  26. Hume on Causation, Relations and “Necessary Connexions”.Jason Zarri - manuscript
    A specter is haunting Hume scholarship: the specter of the “New Hume.” Contrary to more traditional interpretations, according to which Hume rejects belief in any conception of causation that invokes (metaphysically) necessary connections between distinct existences, proponents of the New Hume hold that Hume at the least allowed for the possibility of such connections—it’s just that he thought we couldn’t know much, if anything, about them, if we assume that they do exist. -/- I will argue that the views of (...)
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  27. Three Ways of Worrying About 'Causation'.David Spurrett & Don Ross - unknown
    Our point of departure is Russell’s (1913) argument for the ‘complete extrusion’ of the word ‘cause’ from the philosophical vocabulary. We argue that at least three different types of philosophical project concerning ‘cause’ should be carefully distinguished, and that failures to distinguish them lie at the root of some apparently recalcitrant problems. We call them the ‘cognitive’, the ‘scientific’ and the ‘metaphysical’.
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