Geert Keil
Humboldt-University, Berlin
The short paper is a reply to a review of the author’s book HANDELN UND VERURSACHEN (Frankfurt am Main 2000). The reviewer, Peter Rohs, has focused upon the issues of causation, laws of nature and free will. Both Rohs and the author are libertarians, but they disagree on a number of metaphysical issues. The author maintains that causation is a relation between changes, i. e. time-consuming events, not between instantaneous states. Against Davidson’s “principle of the nomological character of causality”, he holds that no exceptionless generalizations subsuming cause-effect pairs exist. He defends a singularist version of the counterfactual analysis of event causality instead. This analysis has application to both physical and mental events, so that no special kind of mental causation needs to be assumed. The paper is divided into five sections: (1) The skeptical view of laws of nature, (2) Causal relata, (3) Churchland’s law of action, (4) Counterfactual conditionals and knowledge of regularities, (5) Freedom and determinism. The debate is continued in a later issue of the same journal.
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