Causal foundationalism, physical causation, and difference-making

Synthese 190 (6):1017-1037 (2013)
Authors
Luke Fenton-Glynn
University College London
Abstract
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
Keywords Causation  Difference-making  Causal foundationalism  Physical causation  Processes
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-0058-7
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Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.

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