Chapter

Singular Causes First

Nancy Cartwright

in Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement

Published in print April 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235071
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597169 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198235070.003.0004

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Singular Causes First

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‘Singular Causes First’ rejects Hume's thesis that singular causal facts are reducible to generic ones, adopting a reverse position, taking singular causes as basic. Using idealized examples, Cartwright shows that strategies to establish causal claims without using singular causal facts as inputs all fail, including probabilistic theories of causality. Not only is singular causal input necessary if probabilities are to imply causal connections, the resulting causal output is also at base singular.

Keywords: David Hume; probabilistic causality; probability; singular causes

Chapter.  21479 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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