Causation as Metaphor


Authors
Robert C. Robinson
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
The thesis of this paper is that causation, when described and treated as a metaphor, increases in explanatory power, while diminishing the problems associated with standard analysis of it. I first present a description of the uses of metaphor in scientific and literary language. This is drawn primarily from Max Black's interaction view of metaphor, as well as the view forwarded by Donald Davidson in his What Metaphors Mean. I then outline some of the standard analyses in the field of causation, followed by some of the standard replies to those analyses. Finally, I show how describing causation in terms of a metaphor will bypass many of these objections, while maintaining or increasing its explanatory power.
Keywords Causation  Metaphor  Explanation
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