Causation: One word, many things

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):805-819 (2004)
Abstract
We currently have on offer a variety of different theories of causation. Many are strikingly good, providing detailed and plausible treatments of exemplary cases; and all suffer from clear counterexamples. I argue that, contra Hume and Kant, this is because causation is not a single, monolithic concept. There are different kinds of causal relations imbedded in different kinds of systems, readily described using thick causal concepts. Our causal theories pick out important and useful structures that fit some familiar cases—cases we discover and ones we devise to fit.
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DOI 10.1086/426771
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