-/- Evolution, Alpha Predation, and the Principle of Mediocrity Evolution, the mechanism which brought about ordered complexity as far as emergent life is concerned on Planet Earth allows Man to rise as the alpha species, a Superspecies, if you will. My definition for Superspecies is simple. Any biological life that can violate laws 1 and 2 of Thermodynamics, not in the physical or ontological sense of biology but in the mental sense, with their inventive minds. This is a precise description (...) for the purpose of energy conservation. (However, we may soon be able to violate entropy physically as well through nanobot technology and genetic engineering.) Others may simply call this Sentience, or Intelligent Life or perhaps, Communicative Life. We, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, or Man, Doubly Wise, is Earth’s alpha predator. In the Animal Kingdom it is said that we are the king of the beasts. Why should Mother Nature allow a species to evolve in such a way as to completely outpace, out compete, and out evolve all other life in our closed ecosystem? Is that not risky of the indecipherable evolutionary mechanism? Humanity could destroy the balance of life on the planet in calamitous fashion just as easily as an asteroid or a mega volcanic eruption. Does this not jeopardize the cyclical balance we see all throughout nature? Is it possible that she can take the chance because she is not threatened by us? Are we her grand design? Humankind is uniquely situated in that we sit at the apex of heightened consciousness in our observable universe. Part of becoming self-aware necessitates the discovery of duality that exists between observer and observed, or mind and matter. Duality of quantum mind and quantum object results in the unique interplay that mind has with nature. The realization of consciousness in physics allows us to see how special our perch truly is. We may yet still discover someday how truly special it is that we are and this is in strict defiance to the principle of mediocrity. We are currently, in our own known universe, its greatest masterpiece. We are an alpha form of consciousness and this has given us the ability to dominate without destroying balance (so far, so good). The question of Alpha Predation in its historical context, finds itself rooted in the Abrahamic. “I AM.” The ultimate in thought, form, and expression, the ‘64,000’ prefix or affix. So accordingly, the “Is God jealous?” question finds its way into this book. It has been cited by atheists such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. Cite: The perceived weakness of jealousy argument is flawed and could be enumerated on in many ways but I’ll stick to the science. -/- We’ll answer it in a moment but first we need to take a detour on the evolutionary trail for further explanation. Life is a system of organized chemical interactions bound to the laws of electromagnetism and in particular, the laws of chemistry. For that matter, it is like a Mouse in a Maze. The mouse finds its way in the maze of life, only to find that finding the exit to the maze puts it right back into the entrance of the maze. When a closed or circuitous path exists for the transient property of energy to flow, life happens. Not over night, but it must exist in all manner of various forms across the universe when the conditions arise long enough for energy to find these circuitous paths. -/- Life as a whole is also said to be a (momentary) violation of entropy .It is its anti-force, if you will. Note: The randomness of an entropic event at the level of a cellular nucleus (citation needed) is thought to be 1.82 bits per base pair for each chromosome that averages out to have 247 Mbp (mega base pairs). Ordered complexity is thought to arise in particular, because of gravity’s role in nature. It is the glue for the argument (pun) Cite Lee Smolin that the gravitational seed is anti-entropic and from its roots has sprung the evolutionary tree in which we have arisen from. Gravity is resultant from the laws of physics and plays a foundational role in the ordered complexity of evolution. Nonphysical laws seed the ‘inherent ’properties of quantum mechanics. Gravity is then instrumental in its role as the binding agent that forces atoms to interact, becoming molecules and so on. Even complex atoms do not come to be without its role in fusion and even supernovae explosions. Nothing evolves without it and we would probably be a formally equilibrated quark gluon soup if not for it. Note: Ignoring the fine tuning of the fundamental constants, are the actual capabilities of quantum mechanics that need no fine tuning for their apparent forces to be understood. -/- Indeed, alpha predators do sit atop all their respective food chains/ ecosystems, and even the Standard Model’s energy hierarchy scale leaves the door open for an ‘alpha’ force theorized as Supersymmetry. An obvious question might be, “What does God have to be jealous of?” If we are made in the image of the Creator, is this not a question of qualia? Nothing in the laws of physics precludes life in the form of emotionless automata from happening, but the experientiality of the moment envisaged as the qualia of emotional content seems to me, a strong argument for the reality of time and why we have evolved to be ‘jealous primates’. -/- . (shrink)
In a recent work (Grasso et al., 2021 ), practitioners of the Integrated Information Theory (IIT) claim to have overcome the weaknesses of causal reductionism in producing a coherent account of causation, as causal reductionism would blatantly conflate causation with prediction and could not answer the question of ‘what caused what.’ In this paper, I reject such a dismissal of causal reductionism since IIT anti-reductionists misunderstand the reductionist stance. The reductionists can still invoke a causal account stemming from the causal (...) power of the universe’s basic units and interactions that, eventually, may lead to structures supporting integrated information. Additionally, I claim that the IIT-inspired misunderstanding of causal reductionism originates from the former’s metaphysical deficit, conflating information with causation. However, as a possible way out, if IIT is complemented with a deeper metaphysical ground, such as nested hylomorphism, an improved argument against causal reductionism can be made to work by invoking formal causality as the ultimate cause of integration in natural systems. (shrink)
Causation is one of the most controversial topics in philosophy. There is a wide range of philosophical accounts of causation, for example, the regularity account, the probabilistic account, the counterfactual account, the interventionist account, which can be all classified as ‘difference-making’ accounts; and the mechanistic account. Many argue that only one of these accounts is correct as there is only one type of causal relation (causal monism), while others maintain that there are multiple types of causation (causal pluralism). In addition, (...) there are eliminativists argue that science has no need of causation at all, while primitivists maintain that causation is unanalysable. Recently, the difference-making and mechanistic approaches have dominated recent philosophical discussion of causation. Other approaches and positions have been insufficiently discussed and assessed, especially in the context of philosophy of science. This volume explores and examines alternative approaches to causation. It revisits causal primitivism and causal eliminativism in the context of recent literature. It further explores the pluralistic approach, the fictionalist approach, the inferentialist approach, and the informational approach. It also examines the application of the dispositional approach, the epistemic approach, and the powerful particulars approach to the natural and social sciences. Overall, the volume is complementary to the recent discussion on the difference-making and mechanistic approaches and sheds new light on the metaphysical, epistemological, conceptual and methodological issues on causation. As such, it provides foundations for further research and teaching of this hotly debated topic. (shrink)
Purpose: The purpose of the discussion is to call for an experimental trial in order to optimize the sociology of knowledge in the astronomical and cosmological sciences from a cognitive science and developmental psychology perspective. The potential of such experimental trial may also correlate developmental psychology with cosmology and astrophysics, therefore, contribute to public health from an astrobiological perspective. -/- Method: The discussion adopts a philosophizing method for the multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary proposal, with the hypothesis that proton decay in cosmology (...) is correlative to neuronal development in human biochemistry. The method adopts a humanitarian paradigm of pragmatism in natural mutation from cosmic changes, in an exploratory heuristics for hydro-sampling of mutational potentials from environmental factors in cosmological large-scale structure. -/- Result: With an initial assessment on existing technologies, the potentials of the big data trend in astronomy and astrophysics can be applied to data analysis with solid-state electrolytes in sensor baselines to nuclear medicine methods. (shrink)
There is an inconsistency between the access we have to our conscious lives and the Humean thesis of causal generalism. This was first drawn attention to by John Hawthorne, whose argument withstands a number of objections. Nevertheless, it has weaknessess. The first premise must be weakened if Humeans are to be compelled to accept it, and consequently, the second premise will have to be stronger to retain validity. I shore up the case against Humeanism by providing revised premises along with (...) new defences of them. I show why this also provides a lesson for non-Humeans about the epistemology of causal relations. (shrink)
Causal reductionism is the widespread assumption that there is no room for additional causes once we have accounted for all elementary mechanisms within a system. Due to its intuitive appeal, causal reductionism is prevalent in neuroscience: once all neurons have been caused to fire or not to fire, it seems that causally there is nothing left to be accounted for. Here, we argue that these reductionist intuitions are based on an implicit, unexamined notion of causation that conflates causation with prediction. (...) By means of a simple model organism, we demonstrate that causal reductionism cannot provide a complete and coherent account of ‘what caused what’. To that end, we outline an explicit, operational approach to analyzing causal structures. (shrink)
This book contextualizes David Hume's philosophy of physical science, exploring both Hume's background in the history of early modern natural philosophy and its subsequent impact on the scientific tradition.
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.
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. (...) He shows that proper causal relata are events understood as states of substances at ontological indices. He then proves that causation cannot be reduced to some non-causal base, and that the best account of that relation should be unashamedly primitivist about the dependence relation that underwrites its very nature. The book demonstrates a distinctive realist and anti-reductionist account of causation by detailing precisely how the account outperforms reductionist and competing anti-reductionist accounts in that it handles all of the difficult cases while overcoming all of the general objections to anti-reductionism upon which other anti-reductionist accounts falter. This book offers an original and interesting view of causation and will appeal to scholars and advanced students in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of physics. (shrink)
Hume is known for his claim that our idea of causation is nothing beyond constant conjunction, and that our idea of necessary connection is nothing beyond a felt determination of the mind. In short, Hume endorses a "thin" conception of causation and necessary connection. In recent years, however, a sizeable number of philosophers have come to view Hume as someone who believes in the existence of thick causal connections - that is, causal connections that allow one to infer a priori (...) the effect from the cause, and vice versa. Hume doesn't wish to deny such connections, said philosopher's claim, he only seeks to demonstrate that we can't know anything about the nature of the thick causal connections that make up the natural world. In this dissertation, I defend the old or traditional interpretation of Hume on causation. I draw attention to the important but neglected role of clear and distinct perception in Hume's thought, arguing that for Hume our impressions are clear and distinct perceptions, whereas our ideas are faint and obscure. Accordingly, Hume's copy principle - the thesis that our ideas are copies of our impressions - is Hume's way of rendering our naturally obscure and confused ideas distinct. One need only discern the impression from which said ideas are copied. In this way, I show that Hume's opinion concerning our idea of thick causation is that it's an obscure and confused idea, and that the only clear and distinct idea we can have of causation is thin causation. Furthermore, since meaning for Hume is a matter of a word's being associated with an idea, Hume thinks that an expression such as "thick causation" is meaningless or confused. In one sense, then, Hume is a positivist, and as such doesn't believe in thick causal connections. (shrink)
We typically judge that hasteners are causes of what they hasten, while delayers are not causes of what they delay. These judgements, I suggest, are sensitive to an underlying metaphysical distinction. To see this, we need to pay attention to a relation that I call positive security-dependence, where an event E security-depends positively on an earlier event C just in case E could more easily have failed to occur if C had not occurred. I suggest that we judge that an (...) event C is a cause of a later event E only if E security-depends positively on C. This explains our causal judgements in typical cases of hastening and delaying as well as in atypical cases, where we judge that hasteners are not causes of what they hasten or that delayers are causes of what they delay. (shrink)
On the dominant interpretation, Ockham is an externalist about mental content. This reading is founded principally on his theory of intuitive cognition. Intuitive cognition plays a foundational role in Ockham’s account of concept formation and judgment, and Ockham insists that the content of intuitive states is determined by the causal relations such states bear to their objects. The aim of this paper is to challenge the externalist interpretation by situating Ockham’s account of intuitive cognition vis-à-vis his broader account of efficient (...) causation. While there can be no doubt that intuitive states are causally individuated, I argue that, given Ockham’s broader theory of efficient causation (on which causation turns out to be an internal relation), this very fact entails that the content of such states is determined by factors internal (rather than external) to the states themselves. (shrink)
Fifteen philosophers offer new essays exploring the metaphysics of relations from antiquity to the present day. They address topics as diverse as ancient and medieval reasons for scepticism about polyadic properties; recent attempts to reduce causal and spatiotemporal relations; recent work on the directionality of relational properties; powers ontologies and their associated problems; whether the most promising interpretations of quantum mechanics posit a fundamentally relational world; and whether the very idea of such a world is coherent. From those who question (...) whether there are relational properties at all, to those who hold they are a fundamental part of reality, The Metaphysics of Relations covers a broad spectrum of positions on the nature and ontological status of relations, from antiquity to the present day. (shrink)
The Scottish philosopher David Hume is widely regarded as the greatest and most significant English-speaking philosopher and often seen as having had the most influence on the way philosophy is practiced today in the West. His reputation is based not only on the quality of his philosophical thought but also on the breadth and scope of his writings, which ranged over metaphysics, epistemology, morals, politics, religion, and aesthetics. The Handbook's 38 newly commissioned chapters are divided into six parts: Central Themes; (...) Metaphysics and Epistemology; Passion, Morality and Politics; Aesthetics, History, and Economics; Religion; Hume and the Enlightenment; and After Hume. The volume also features an introduction from editor Paul Russell and a chapter on Hume's biography. (shrink)
In the first Enquiry, Hume takes the experience of exerting force against a solid body to be a key ingredient of the vulgar idea of power, so that the vulgar take that experience to provide us with an impression of power. Hume provides two arguments against the vulgar on this point: the first concerning our other applications of the idea of power and the second concerning whether that experience yields certainty about distinct events. I argue that, even if we accept (...) Hume’s conception of the vulgar’s approach, neither of Hume’s arguments succeeds. The first argument can be resisted either by using the very arguments Hume provides concerning other causal representations or by simply rejecting Hume’s strict empiricism. The second argument can be resisted on epistemological grounds: there is no reason to think that an experience of a maximally-strong metaphysical connection would provide a maximally-strong epistemological connection. Unlike some recent neo-Anscombean responses to the second argument, my response does not require challenging Hume’s view that causal relations are strictly necessary. Though I do not attempt to translate the resilience of the vulgar view into contemporary terms, the failure of Hume’s arguments challenges one of the long-standing motivations for Humean approaches to causation. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers endorse the Humean-Lewisian Denial of Absolutely Necessary Connections (‘DANC’). Among those philosophers, many deny all or part of the Humean-Lewisian package of views about causation and laws. I argue that they maintain an inconsistent set of views. DANC entails that (1) causal properties and relations are, with a few possible exceptions, always extrinsic to their bearers, (2) nomic properties and relations are, with a few possible exceptions, always extrinsic to their bearers, and (3) causal and nomic properties (...) and relations globally supervene on non-causal, non-nomic properties and relations. Hence, one can’t be a consistent Half-Hearted Humean. Consistency demands giving up the core Humean thesis or facing up to its consequences. The upshot is that we face a stark choice: either there are absolutely necessary connections between distinct existents or it’s "just one damn thing after another.". (shrink)
Interpreters have found it exceedingly difficult to understand how Hume could be right in claiming that his two definitions of ‘cause’ are essentially the same. As J. A. Robinson points out, the definitions do not even seem to be extensionally equivalent. Don Garrett offers an influential solution to this interpretative problem, one that attributes to Hume the reliance on an ideal observer. I argue that the theoretical need for an ideal observer stems from an idealized concept of definition, which many (...) interpreters, including Garrett, attribute to Hume. I argue that this idealized concept of definition indeed demands an unlimited or infinite ideal observer. But there is substantial textual evidence indicating that Hume disallows the employment of idealizations in general in the sciences. Thus Hume would reject the idealized concept of definition and its corresponding ideal observer. I then put forward an expert-relative reading of Hume’s definitions of ‘cause’, which also renders both definitions extensionally equivalent. On the expert-relative reading, the meaning of ‘cause’ changes with better observations and experiments, but it also allows Humean definitions to play important roles within our normative practices. Finally, I consider and reject Henry Allison’s argument that idealized definitions and their corresponding infinite minds are necessary for expert reflection on the limitations of current science. (shrink)
Several philosophers have embraced the view that high-level events—events like Zimbabwe's monetary policy and its hyper-inflation—are causally related if their corresponding low-level, fundamental physical events are causally related. I dub the view which denies this without denying that high-level events are ever causally related causal emergentism. Several extant philosophical theories of causality entail causal emergentism, while others are inconsistent with the thesis. I illustrate this with David Lewis's two theories of causation, one of which entails causal emergentism, the other of (...) which entails its negation. I then argue for causal emergentism on the grounds that it provides the only adequate means of squaring the apparent plenitude of causal relations between low-level events with the apparent scarcity of causal relations between high-level events. This tension between the apparent abundance of low-level causation and the apparent scarcity of high-level causation has been noted before. However, it has been thought that various theses about the semantics or the pragmatics of causal claims could be used to ameliorate the tension without going in for causal emergentism. I argue that none of the suggested semantic or pragmatic strategies meet with success, and recommend emergentist theories of causality in their stead. As Lewis's 1973 account illustrates, causal emergentism is consistent with the thesis that all facts reduce to microphysical facts. (shrink)
The paper investigates whether causation is extrinsic in Humean Supervenience in the sense that "being caused by" is an intrinsic relation between token causes and effects. The underlying goal is to test whether causality is extrinsic for Humeans and intrinsic for anti-Humeans in this sense. I argue that causation is typically extrinsic in HS, but it is intrinsic to event pairs that collectively most of the universe's history.
An influential tradition in the philosophy of causation has it that all token causal facts are, or are reducible to, facts about difference-making. Challenges to this tradition have typically focused on pre-emption cases, in which a cause apparently fails to make a difference to its effect. However, a novel challenge to the difference-making approach has recently been issued by Alyssa Ney. Ney defends causal foundationalism, which she characterizes as the thesis that facts about difference-making depend upon facts about physical causation. (...) She takes this to imply that causation is not fundamentally a matter of difference-making. In this paper, I defend the difference-making approach against Ney’s argument. I also offer some positive reasons for thinking, pace Ney, that causation is fundamentally a matter of difference-making. (shrink)
There are, by now, many rival, sophisticated philosophical accounts of causation that qualify as ‘metaphysically reductive’. This is a good thing: these collective efforts have vastly improved our understanding of causation over the last 30 years or so. They also put us in an excellent position to reflect on some central methodological questions: What exactly is the point of offering a metaphysical reduction of causation? What philosophical scruples ought to guide the pursuit of such a reduction? Finally, how should answers (...) to these latter questions affect one’s assessment of the main contemporary approaches? That’s what we investigate in this essay. Section 1 lays out our presuppositions. Section 2 reviews a sample of philosophical accounts. Then comes the main event: Section 3 looks in detail at the foregoing methodological questions, closing with a reconsideration of our sample accounts, in light of what we’ve found. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide Humean metaphysics for the interventionist theory of causation. This is done by appealing to the hierarchical picture of causal relations as being realized by mechanisms, which in turn are identified with lower-level causal structures. The modal content of invariances at the lowest level of this hierarchy, at which mechanisms are reduced to strict natural laws, is then explained in terms of projectivism based on the best-system view of laws.
I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
How should we understand the relationship between the contents of our color, causal, modal, and evaluative beliefs, on the one hand, and color, causal, modal, and evaluative properties, on the other? According to Barry Stroud (2011), because of the nature of the contents of those types of beliefs, we should also think that what he calls a “negative metaphysical verdict” on the latter is not one that we could consistently maintain. The metaphysical project aims to arrive at an improved conception (...) of ourselves and our relation the world, no matter if that conception is positive or negative. But if Stroud is right that we cannot consistently arrive at the view that all of our causal, modal, and evaluative beliefs are systematically false, we will see that we cannot consistently reach the negative verdict. But failure to reach the negative verdict doesn’t mean that we have reached the positive verdict. Stroud calls this philosophical failure “metaphysical dissatisfaction”. In this paper, I argue that we can appropriate a metaepistemological response to the problem of the external world which shares its core features with Stroud’s (2000, 2011) arguments, but which nevertheless leaves us with a distinctive kind of epistemological dissatisfaction. (shrink)
In metaphysics, the adjective ‘Humean’ is standardly used to describe positions that deny the existence of any necessary connection or causal influence in concrete reality. This usage has been significantly reinforced by David Lewis’s employment of ‘Humean’ in the phrase ‘Humean supervenience’. It is, however, most unclear that this usage is appropriate, and Lewis himself raised a doubt about it.
The first part of this paper presents an argument showing that the currently most highly acclaimed interventionist theory of causation, i.e. the one advanced by Woodward, excludes supervening macro properties from having a causal influence on effects of their micro supervenience bases. Moreover, this interventionist exclusion argument is demonstrated to rest on weaker premises than classical exclusion arguments. The second part then discusses a weakening of interventionism that Woodward suggests. This weakened version of interventionism turns out either to be inapplicable (...) to cases of downward causation involving supervening macro properties or to render corresponding causal claims meaningless. In sum, the paper argues that, contrary to what many non-reductive physicalists claim, interventionism does not render non-reductive physicalism immune to the problem of causal exclusion. (shrink)
showing what makes causal facts both true and accessible enough for us to have the knowledge of them that we ordinarily take ourselves to have. Some current approaches to analyzing causation were once resisted. First, analyses that use the counterfactual conditional were viewed with suspicion because philosophers also sought (and still do seek) similar understanding of counterfactual facts. Since the same can be said for the other nomic concepts--causation, lawhood, explanation, chance, dispositions, and their conceptual kin--philosophy demonstrated a preference for (...) non-nomic definitions of causation, analytic completions of (S) with no nomic terms in the analysans. Recently, however, philosophers have been less demanding regarding what terms may be used. Attention has been given to analyzing causation in terms of chance, the counterfactual conditional, and lawhood. If we reserve the term ‘causal’ for the terms and concepts that have extremely obvious connections.. (shrink)
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 (...) the other? This paper defends causal foundationalism: the view that facts about difference-making are dependent on the obtaining of facts about physical causation. However, the paper's main goal is to clarify the structure of the debate. At the end of the paper, it is shown how settling the issue about the relationship between physical theories of causation and theories of difference-making has more than mere intrinsic interest in unifying the very different pursuits that have been undertaken in the philosophy of causation. It can help to break a stalemate that has arisen in the current debate about mental causation. (shrink)
Hume argued that experience could not justify commonly held beliefs in singular causal effcacy, according to which individual or singular causes produce their effects or make their effects happen. Hume's discussion has been influential, as motivating the view that Causal reductionism (denying that causal efficacy is an irreducible feature of natural reality) requires Causal generalism (according to which causal relations are metaphysically constituted by patterns of events). Here I argue that causal reductionists---indeed, Hume himself---have previously unappreciated resources for making sense (...) of Causal singularism, associated with a relation that has been curiously underexploited in the causation debates: resemblance. The core idea I explore here is that causation may be metaphysically and epistemologically indicated by the coming-to-be of a resemblance. Comings-to-be of resemblances are epistemically available in the singular instance, even by Hume's strict lights, and, I argue, can justify (albeit fallibly) belief in the holding of singular causal relations; hence Hume's general argument for generalism fails. More to the contemporary metaphysical point, comings-to-be of resemblances provide valuable resources for existing singularist accounts: while neither changes (Ducasse) nor transfers of physical quantities (Fair, Dowe, Salmon) provide a suffciently fine-grained basis for the individuation of causes, either changes or transfers, in combination with comings-to-be of resemblances, can do so. (shrink)
Straipsnis supaþindina su argumentu uþ reduktyvistinæ, hiumiðkà prieþastingumo sampratà. Remiamasi Davido Lewiso ir Hugh’o Melloro áþvalga, kad negali egzistuoti prieþastis ir jø padarinius siejantissantykis, nes prieþastimis ar padariniais gali bûti vadinami ne tik pozityvûs, bet ir negatyvûs faktai arávykiai . Jeigu toks santykis neegzistuoja, tai prieð vadinamàjà „hiumiðkojo supervenavimo“tezæ nukreipti mintiniai eksperimentai negali árodyti, jog prieþastingumas yra neredukuojama pasaulio ypatybë. Daugiausia, kà jie gali árodyti, – tai áprastinës prieþastingumo sampratos prieðtaringumà.Pagrindiniai þodþiai: prieþastingumas, hiumizmas, nesatys.
Causation and the laws of nature are nothing over and above the pattern of events, just like a movie is nothing over and above the sequence of frames. Or so I will argue. The position I will argue for is broadly inspired by Hume and Lewis, and may be expressed in the slogan: what must be, must be grounded in what is.
The paper argues for four claims: (1) The problem of mental causation and the argument for its solution in terms of the identity of mental with physical causes are independent of the theory of causation one favours. (2) If one considers our experience of agency as described by folk psychology to be veridical, one is committed to an anti-Humean metaphysics of causation in terms of powers that establish necessary connections. The same goes for functional properties in general. (3) A metaphysics (...) of causation in terms of powers is compatible with physics. (4) If combined with the argument for mental causes being identical with physical causes, that metaphysics leads to a conservative reductionism. (shrink)
For a long time, regularity accounts of causation have virtually vanished from the scene. Problems encountered within other theoretical frameworks have recently induced authors working on causation, laws of nature, or methodologies of causal reasoning – as e.g. May (Kausales Schliessen. Eine Untersuchung über kausale Erklärungen und Theorienbildung. Ph.D. thesis, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, 1999), Ragin (Fuzzy-set social science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), Graßhoff and May (Causal regularities. In W. Spohn, M. Ledwig, & M. Esfeld (Eds.), Current issues in (...) causation (pp. 85–114). Paderborn: Mentis, 2001), Swartz (The concept of physical law (2nd ed.). http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/physical-law/, 2003), Halpin (Erkenntnis, 58, 137–168, 2003) – to direct their attention back to regularity theoretic analyses. In light of the latest proposals of regularity theories, the paper at hand therefore reassesses the criticism raised against regularity accounts since the INUS theory of causation of Mackie (The cement of the universe. A study of causation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974). It is shown that most of these objections target strikingly over-simplified regularity theoretic sketches. By outlining ways to refute these objections it is argued that the prevalent conviction as to the overall failure of regularity theories has been hasty. (shrink)
According to ‘regularity theories’ of causation, the obtaining of causal relations depends on no more than the obtaining of certain kinds of regularity. Regularity theorists are thus anti-realists about necessary connections in nature. Regularity theories of one form or another have constituted the dominant view in analytic Philosophy for a long time, but have recently come in for some robust criticism, notably from Galen Strawson. Strawson’s criticisms are natural criticisms to make, but have not so far provoked much response from (...) regularity theorists. The paper considers and rebuts Strawson’s objections. For example, Strawson claims that if there were no necessary connections in nature, we ought continually to find the regularity of the Universe surprising. I argue that the fact that the Universe is regular is something we take ourselves (fallibly) to know, and hence, in the light of this knowledge, its continued orderliness is not at all surprising. -/- . (shrink)
Hitchcock (2001a) argues that the distinction between singular and general causation conflates the two distinctions ‘actual causation vs. causal tendencies’ and ‘wide vs. narrow causation’. Based on a recent regularity account of causation I will show that Hitchcock’s introduction of the two distinctions is an unnecessary multiplication of causal concepts.
The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals (...) with cases of overdetermination and pre-emption. It finally indicates how the account's profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone. Introduction Variables, propositions, time Induction first Causation Redundant causation Objectivization. (shrink)
In this entry, the central issues are these: 1. Is the concept of causation basic and unanalyzable, or, on the contrary, does it stand in need of analysis? 2. If it does need to be analyzed, how can this be done? Many different answers have been offered to these questions. But the various approaches can be divided up into four general types, which I shall refer to as direct realism, Humean reductionism, non-Humean reductionism, and indirect, or theoretical-term, realism. This fourfold (...) division, in turn, rests upon the following three distinctions: first, that between reductionism and realism; second, that between Humean and non-Humean states of affairs; and, third, that between states that are immediately observable and those that are not. Given those distinctions, I shall discuss what can be said for and against the four general approaches to causation mentioned above. (shrink)
David Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals remains the standard view. Yet counter-examples have emerged, which suggest a need to invoke causal independence, and thus threaten conceptual circularity. I will review some of these counter-examples (§§1–2), illustrate how causal independence proves useful (§3), and suggest that any resulting circularity is unproblematic (§4).
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. And I 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 reductionists, 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. (shrink)
Any theory of explanation must capture the intimate connection between explanation and causation, or between explanation and a broader notion of dependence, which includes causal and, e.g., mereological dependence. This does not, however, require realism about causation. Following up on a suggestion of P. Kitcher's, I analyze causation in terms of explanation. In order to recover a relation of causation from an augmented and improved version of Kitcher's theory, I develop a notion of an ideal historical explanation: A is causally (...) relevant to B just in case A and B are distinct events and there is an ideal historical explanation for B that makes essential reference to A. The unificatory structure of explanation is crucial to generating a relation with the right structure to be the causal relation. This structure also ensures that the unification approach has the resources to handle the problems of causal overdetermination and preemption. The resulting notion of causation is a regularity account, in which causal relations are underpinned by universal generalizations. This requires me to face the problem of distinguishing laws from accidental generalizations. I argue that the unification approach also has the resources to make this distinction, although the distinction turns out ultimately to be invidious: rather than there being a sharp and exhaustive division of generalizations into laws and non-laws, there is a continuum from the most fundamental laws of nature at one extreme to "purely accidental" matters of fact at the other. The picture of causation and law that emerges is broadly projectivist in spirit; that is, physical necessity is a projection by us of certain relations of logical necessity onto the world. Causation then has an ineluctable "epistemic" component. This does not make causation viciously relative or subjective. I distinguish various senses in which causation is and is not objective on the unification view, and argue that it is objective enough to satisfy our intuitions about causation. (shrink)