Can Indirect Causation be Real?

Metaphysica 8 (2):111-122 (2007)
Causal realists maintain that the causal relation consists in something more than its relata. Specifying this relation in nonreductive terms is however notoriously difficult. Michael Tooley has advanced a plausible account avoiding some of the relation’s most obvious difficulties, particularly where these concern the notion of a cross-temporal connection. His account distinguishes discrete from nondiscrete causation, where the latter is suitable to the continuity of cross-temporal causation. I argue, however, that such accounts face conceptual difficulties dating from Zeno’s time. A Bergsonian resolution of these difficulties appears to entail that, for the causal realist, there can be no indirect causal relations of the sort envisioned by Tooley. A consequence of this discussion is that the causal realist must conceive all causal relations as ultimately direct
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DOI 10.1007/s12133-007-0010-y
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