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26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation

[general comments on the nature of causation]

29 ideas
Anaxagoras says mind produces order and causes everything [Anaxagoras, by Plato]
There are two types of cause, the necessary and the divine [Plato]
Acting on a body is either creating or destroying a property in it [Hobbes]
Newtonian causation is changes of motion resulting from collisions [Newton, by Baron/Miller]
If a singular effect is studied, its cause can only be inferred from the types of events involved [Hume]
A priori it looks as if a cause could have absolutely any effect [Hume]
Old metaphysics tried to grasp eternal truths through causal events, which is impossible [Hegel]
Whitehead held that perception was a necessary feature of all causation [Whitehead, by Harré/Madden]
Einstein took causation to be the bedrock of physics [Einstein, by Coveney/Highfield]
Either cause and effect are subsumed under a conditional because of properties, or it is counterfactual [Bennett]
Delaying a fire doesn't cause it, but hastening it might [Bennett]
Distinguish causation, which is in the world, from explanations, which depend on descriptions [Davidson, by Schaffer,J]
Causal statements are used to explain, to predict, to control, to attribute responsibility, and in theories [Kim]
Causation is a general relation derived from instances of causal dependence [Lewis]
The problem is to explain how causal laws and relations connect, and how they link to the world [Sosa/Tooley]
Explain single events by general rules, or vice versa, or probability explains both, or they are unconnected [Field,H]
'Cause' used to just mean any valid explanation [Scruton]
The logical properties of causation are asymmetry, transitivity and irreflexivity [Le Poidevin]
Causation interests us because we want to explain change [Mumford]
Causes clearly make a difference, are recipes for events, explain effects, and are evidence [Psillos]
Theories of causation are based either on regularity, or on intrinsic relations of properties [Psillos]
We can't base our account of causation on explanation, because it is the wrong way round [Psillos]
Nowadays causation is usually understood in terms of equations and variable ranges [Schaffer,J]
In causation there are three problems of relata, and three metaphysical problems [Schaffer,J]
Causation may not be transitive; the last event may follow from the first, but not be caused by it [Schaffer,J]
There are at least ten theories about causal connections [Schaffer,J]
Causation by absence is not real causation, but part of our explanatory practices [Mumford/Anjum]
Causation may not be transitive. Does a fire cause itself to be extinguished by the sprinklers? [Mumford/Anjum]
Modern accounts of causation involve either processes or counterfactuals [Baron/Miller]