1. Causal knowledge is an indispensable element in science. Causal assertions are embedded in both the results and the procedures of scientific investigation. 2. It is therefore worthwhile to investigate the meaning of causal statements and the ways in which we can arrive at causal knowledge.
Studies causation both as a concept and as it is 'in the objects.' Offers new accounts of the logic of singular causal statements, the form of causal regularities, the detection of causal relationships, the asymmetry of cause and effect, and necessary connection, and it relates causation to functional and statistical laws and to teleology.
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
This collection of John Mackie's papers on personal identity and topics in moral and political philosophy, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: multiple personality; the transcendental "I"; responsibility and language; aesthetic judgements; Sidgwick's pessimism; act-utiliarianism; right-based moral theories; cooperation, competition, and moral philosophy; universalization; rights, utility, and external costs; norms and dilemmas; Parfit's population paradox; and the combination of partially-ordered preferences.
Newcomb's paradox was first presented by Robert Nozick and has been discussed by a considerable number of writers. You are playing a game with a Being who seems to have extraordinary predictive powers. Before you are two boxes, in one of which you can see $1,000. The other is closed and you cannot see what it contains, but you know that the Being has put a million dollars into it if he has predicted that you will take it only, but (...) nothing if he has predicted that you will take both boxes; you may take either both boxes or the closed one only. The Being has correctly predicted the choices of all who have so far played with him. What should you do?Let us call the Being the seer, and his opponent the player. I should also like to reduce the amount that may, or may not, be in the closed box to $10,000. Nearly everyone could make good use of $1,000 and better use of $10,000 or $11,000, but it is hard to say whether a million dollars would be a blessing or a curse. (shrink)
This collection of John Mackie's papers on topics in epistemology, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: incorrigible empirical statements; rationalism and empiricism; the philosophy of John Anderson; self-refutation; Plato's theory of idea; ideological explanation; problems of intentionality; Popper's third world;; mind, brain, and causation; Newcomb's Paradox and the direction of causation; induction; causation in concept, knowledge, and reality; absolutism; Locke and representative perception; and anti-realisms.