Causal Realism and the Laws of Nature

In Borchert (ed.), Philosophy of Science. Macmillan. pp. 261-276 (2006)

Authors
Richard Dawid
Stockholm University
Richard Corry
University of Tasmania
Ron Mallon
Washington University in St. Louis
Abstract
This paper proposes a revision of our understanding of causation that is designed to address what Hartry Field has suggested is the central problem in the metaphysics of causation today: reconciling Bertrand Russell’s arguments that the concept of causation can play no role in the advanced sciences with Nancy Cartwright’s arguments that causal concepts are essential to a scientific understanding of the world. The paper shows that Russell’s main argument is, ironically, very similar to an argument that Cartwright has put forward against the truth of universal laws of nature. The paper uses this insight to develop an account of causation that does justice to traditional views yet avoids the arguments of Russell.
Keywords Causation  Laws of Nature  Vector model  Influence  Russell  Cartwright
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DOI 10.1086/515417
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