Ideas of E Sosa / M Tooley, by Theme

[American, fl. 1990, Sosa at Brown University, Tooley at Western Australia.]

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15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 9. Perceiving Causation
Either causal relations are given in experience, or they are unobserved and theoretical
     Full Idea: There is a fundamental choice between the realist approach to causation which says that the relation is immediately given in experience, and the view that causation is a theoretical relation, and so not directly observable.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 1)
     A reaction: Even if immediate experience is involved, there is a step of abstraction in calling it a cause, and picking out events. A 'theoretical relation' is not of much interest there if no observations are involved. I don't think a choice is required here.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation
The problem is to explain how causal laws and relations connect, and how they link to the world
     Full Idea: Causal states of affairs encompass causal laws, and causal relations between events or states of affairs; two key questions concern the relation between causal laws and causal relations, and the relation between these and non-causal affairs.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 1)
     A reaction: This is the agenda for modern analytical philosophy. I'm not quite clear what would count as an answer. When have you 'explained' a relation? Does calling it 'gravity', or finding an equation, explain that relation? Do gravitinos explain it?
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 4. Naturalised causation
If direction of causation is just direction of energy transfer, that seems to involve causation
     Full Idea: The objection to Fair's view that the direction of causation is the direction of the transference of energy and/or momentum is that the concept of transference itself involves the idea of causation.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 1)
     A reaction: Does it? If a particle proceeds from a to b, how is that causation? ...But the problem is that the particle kicks open the door when it arrives (i.e. makes changes). We wouldn't call it causation if the transference didn't change any properties.
Causation isn't energy transfer, because an electron is caused by previous temporal parts
     Full Idea: The temporal parts of an electron (for example) are causally related, but this relation does not involve any transfer of energy or momentum. Causation cannot be identified with physical energy relations, and physicalist reductions look unpromising.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 1)
     A reaction: This idea, plus Idea 8327, are their grounds for rejecting Fair's proposal (Idea 8326). It feels like a different use of 'cause' when we say 'the existence of x was caused by its existence yesterday'. It is more like inertia. Destruction needs energy.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / c. Conditions of causation
Are causes sufficient for the event, or necessary, or both?
     Full Idea: An early view of causation (Mill and Hume) is whatever is (ceteris paribus) sufficient for the event. A second view (E.Nagel) is that the cause should just be necessary. Some (R.Taylor) even contemplate the cause having to be necessary and sufficient.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 2)
     A reaction: A cause can't be necessary if there is some other way to achieve the effect. A single cause is not sufficient if many other factors are also essential. If neither of those is right, then 'both' is wrong. Enter John Mackie...
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
The dominant view is that causal laws are prior; a minority say causes can be explained singly
     Full Idea: The dominant view is that causal laws are more basic than causal relations, with relations being logically supervenient on causal laws, and on properties and event relations; some, though, defend the singularist view, in which events alone can be related.
     From: E Sosa / M Tooley (Introduction to 'Causation' [1993], 1)
     A reaction: I am deeply suspicious about laws (see Idea 5470). I suspect that the laws are merely descriptions of the regularities that arise from the single instances of causation. We won't explain the single instances, but then laws don't 'explain' them either.