Single Idea 10392

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / d. Selecting the cause]

Full Idea

We sometimes single out one among all the causes of some event and call it 'the' cause. ..We may select the abnormal causes, or those under human control, or those we deem good or bad, or those we want to talk about. This is invidious discrimination.

Gist of Idea

It is just individious discrimination to pick out one cause and label it as 'the' cause


David Lewis (Causation [1973])

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'Philosophical Papers Vol.2' [OUP 1986], p.162

A Reaction

This is the standard view expressed by Mill - presumably the obvious empiricist line. But if we specify 'the pre-conditions' for an event, we can't just mention ANY fact prior to the effect - there is obvious relevance. So why not for 'the' cause as well?