Singular Causation and Law

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:537 - 543 (1990)
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Abstract

Humean accounts of law are at the same time accounts of causation. Accordingly, since laws are nothing but contingent cosmic regularities, to be a cause is just to be an instance of such a law. Every particular cause-effect pair, according to these accounts, instantiates some law of nature. I argue that this claim is false. Singular causation without being governed by any law is logically and physically possible. Separating causes from laws enables us to see the distinct role each plays in science, especially in matters related to prediction and explanation.

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Gurol Irzik
Sabanci University

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