Book

The Cement of the Universe

J. L. Mackie

Published in print September 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246428
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597954 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198246420.001.0001

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

The Cement of the Universe

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In this book, J. L. Mackie makes a careful study of several philosophical issues involved in his account of causation. Mackie follows Hume's distinction between causation as a concept and causation as it is ‘in the objects’ and attempts to provide an account of both aspects. Mackie examines the treatment of causation by philosophers such as Hume, Kant, Mill, Russell, Ducasse, Kneale, Hart and Honore, and von Wright. Mackie's own account involves an analysis of causal statements in terms of counterfactual conditionals though these are judged to be incapable of giving a complete account of causation. Mackie argues that regularity theory too can only offer an incomplete picture of the nature of causation. In the course of his analysis, Mackie critically examines the account of causation offered by Kant, as well as the contemporary Kantian approaches offered by philosophers such as Bennett and Strawson. Also addressed are issues such as the direction of causation, the relation of statistical laws and functional laws, the role of causal statements in legal contexts, and the understanding of causes both as ‘facts’ and ‘events’. Throughout the discussion of these topics, Mackie develops his own complex account of the nature of causation, finally bringing his analysis to bear in regard to the topic of teleology and the question of whether final causes can be justifiably reduced to efficient causes.

Keywords: causation; counterfactual conditionals; direction of causation; functional laws; Hume; Kant; Mackie; metaphysics; regularity theory; Russell; statistical laws; teleology

Book.  340 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Cement of the Universe

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Hume's Account of Causation in The Cement of the Universe

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Causal Regularities <sup>1</sup> in The Cement of the Universe

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Kant and Transcendentalism in The Cement of the Universe

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Common Sense and the Law in The Cement of the Universe

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The Direction of Causation <sup>1</sup> in The Cement of the Universe

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The Necessity of Causes in The Cement of the Universe

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Statistical Laws in The Cement of the Universe

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