On singular causality: A definition and defence

Abstract
The object of this paper is to offer a conception of singular causality that lies between two main views in the literature, which I take to be paradigmatically represented by David Armstrong (1997) and by Michael Tooley (1987, 1990) respectively. Armstrong maintains that there is singular causation wherever there are singular facts that instantiate causal laws; these facts are otherwise independent regularities. Tooley maintains that singular causation is independent of causal laws together with any other non-causal fact. My own view is that Armstrong’s account is too weak to conform a singularist position, as in his view singular causal relations are finally dependent on universal causation. On the other hand, Tooley’s account is too strong to be causal, as causation dissolves into a purely external and mysterious connection that is not even Humean -not even regularities play a role in its establishment. I want to maintain that there exists a middle way that correctly characterizes the spirit of singular causation, and that can be stated by (CS): (CS) Singular causality is metaphysically independent of universal causality. Neither Tooley nor Armstrong would admit (CS) as an appropriate defining thesis for causal singularism. In what follows, I consider different causal situations existing in the literature, with the purpose of analysing singular causation, arguing against Tooley and Armstrong's views, and defending (CS) instead. If my reasons are accepted, Armstrong’s position, rather than being singular in spirit, results into a form of causal universalism. I will also reject Tooley’s singularism as an extreme counterintuitive form of hyperrealism. Some consequences for causation are immediate. In particular, that singular causal relations are tropes, i.e., individual relations.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,719
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Causality.Jessica M. Wilson - 2006 - In Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 90--100.
Against the Contrastive Account of Singular Causation.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):115-143.
Causal Laws and Singular Causation.Brian Ellis - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):329-351.
Singular Causation Without Dispositions.María José García-Encinas - 2011 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 26 (1):35-50.
Added to PP index
2010-04-02

Total downloads
47 ( #114,864 of 2,197,266 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #97,084 of 2,197,266 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature