Single Idea 16556

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic]

Full Idea

It is not the penicillin that causes the pneumonia to disappear, but what the penicillin does.

Gist of Idea

Penicillin causes nothing; the cause is what penicillin does


Machamer,P/Darden,L/Craver,C (Thinking About Mechanisms [2000], 3.1)

Book Reference

-: 'Philosophy of Science' [-], p.6

A Reaction

This is a very neat example for illustrating how we slip into 'entity' talk, when the reality we are addressing actually concerns processes. Without the 'what it does', penicillin can't participate in causation at all.