Spoils to the Vector - How to model causes if you are a realist about powers

The Monist 94 (1):54-80 (2011)
Authors
Stephen Mumford
Durham University
Rani Anjum
University of Tromsø (PhD)
Abstract
A standard way of representing causation is with neuron diagrams. This has become popular since the influential work of David Lewis. But it should not be assumed that such representations are metaphysically neutral and amenable to any theory of causation. On the contrary, this way of representing causation already makes several Humean assumptions about what causation is, and which suit Lewis’s programme of Humean Supervenience. An alternative of a vector diagram is better suited for a powers ontology. Causation should be understood as connecting property types and tokens where there are dispositions towards some properties rather than others. Such a model illustrates how an effect is typically polygenous: caused by many powers acting with each other, and sometimes against each other. It models causation as a tendency towards an effect which can be counteracted. The model can represent cases of causal complexity, interference, over-determination and causation of absence (equilibrium).
Keywords Causation  Powers  Causal model
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DOI 10.5840/monist20119414
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