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Causation (Oxford Readings in Philosophy) by Ernest Sosa

By Ernest Sosa

This quantity offers a range of the main influential fresh discussions of the the most important metaphysical query: what's it for one occasion to reason one other? the topic of causation bears on many issues, corresponding to time, rationalization, psychological states, the legislation of nature, and the philosophy of technology. participants comprise J.L Mackie, Michael Scriven, Jaegwon Kim, G.E.M. Anscombe, G.H. von Wright, C.J. Ducasse, Wesley C. Salmon, David Lewis, Paul Horwich, Jonathan Bennett, Ernest Sosa, and Michael Tooley.

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Ross, Aristotle (New York, 1959),74-8, and in A. E. Taylor, Aristotle (New York, 1955),50-5. 32 INTRODUCTION difficulties to which various accounts of the nature of causation are exposed have now become much clearer. There are, then, grounds for optimism concerning the problem that Hume posed, in spite of the fact that even the general form that the solution is likely to take remains very much an open question. I CAUSES AND CONDITIONS JOHN L. MACKIE Asked what a cause is, we may be tempted to say that it is an event which precedes the event of which it is the cause, and is both necessary and sufficient for the latter's occurrence; briefly that a cause is a necessary and sufficient preceding condition.

Sec Salmon's discussion in 'Causality: Production and Propagation', Ch. IX below, pp. 158-9 and Ihti-S. 24 INTRODUCTION simply cosmic regularities that did not obtain in virtue of some deeper fact-such as a second-order atomic state of affairs consisting of an irreducible relation among universals. If laws were simply regularities that lacked any such backing, would it not be likely that, at some time and place, a counter-instance would arise? Secondly, there is the difficulty of drawing a distinction between those regularities that are laws, and those that, though universal, are merely accidental.

In analysing our ordinary causal statements, we must admit that the field is often taken for granted or only roughly indicated, rather than specified precisely. Nevertheless, the field in relation to which we are looking for a cause of this effect, or saying that such-and-such is a cause, may be definite enough for us to be able to say that certain facts or possibilities are irrelevant to the particular causal problem under consideration, because they would constitute a shift from the intended field to a different one.

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