The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation

Clarendon Press (1974)
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In this book, J. L. Mackie makes a careful study of several philosophical issues involved in his account of causation. Mackie follows Hume's distinction between causation as a concept and causation as it is ‘in the objects’ and attempts to provide an account of both aspects. Mackie examines the treatment of causation by philosophers such as Hume, Kant, Mill, Russell, Ducasse, Kneale, Hart and Honore, and von Wright. Mackie's own account involves an analysis of causal statements in terms of counterfactual conditionals though these are judged to be incapable of giving a complete account of causation. Mackie argues that regularity theory too can only offer an incomplete picture of the nature of causation. In the course of his analysis, Mackie critically examines the account of causation offered by Kant, as well as the contemporary Kantian approaches offered by philosophers such as Bennett and Strawson. Also addressed are issues such as the direction of causation, the relation of statistical laws and functional laws, the role of causal statements in legal contexts, and the understanding of causes both as ‘facts’ and ‘events’. Throughout the discussion of these topics, Mackie develops his own complex account of the nature of causation, finally bringing his analysis to bear in regard to the topic of teleology and the question of whether final causes can be justifiably reduced to efficient causes.



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Final Causes.Timothy L. S. Sprigge & Alan Montefiore - 1971 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 45 (1):149 - 192.

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