Review of Making Things Happen [Book Review]

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):136-140 (2006)
Abstract
The concept of causation plays a central role in many philosophical theories, and yet no account of causation has gained widespread acceptance among those who have investigated its foundations. Theories based on laws, counterfactuals, physical processes, and probabilistic dependence and independence relations (the list is by no means exhaustive) have all received detailed treatment in recent years—and, while no account has been entirely successful, it is generally agreed that the concept has been greatly clarified by the attempts. In this magnificent book, Woodward aims to give a unified account of causation and causal explanation in terms of the notion of a manipulation (or intervention, terms which can be read interchangeably). Not only does he produce in my view the most illuminating and comprehensive account of causation on offer, his theory also opens a great many avenues for future work in the area, and has ramifications for many other areas of philosophy. Making Things Happen ought to be of interest not only to philosophers of causation and philosophers of science, but to any philosopher whose concerns involve assumptions about the nature of causation, laws, or explanation
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