The Concept of Causation—Conditional Analyses

J. L. Mackie

in The Cement of the Universe

Published in print September 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246428
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597954 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 The Concept of Causation—Conditional Analyses

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This chapter discusses conditional analyses of causal statements, focusing on singular causal statements, which Mackie argues are conceptually and epistemologically prior to generalizations. He also attempts to elucidate the notion of a causal field, the background context within which singular causal statements are made. After an examination of the various ways in which necessity and sufficiency can be related to an account of causation, Mackie proposes an analysis that involves the employment of counterfactual conditionals. He also claims that a notion of causal priority is required for an analysis of causation. Mackie concludes that both necessity and sufficiency are required for his counterfactual analysis, though the requirement of sufficiency is less firm than that of necessity.

Keywords: causal field; causal priority; conditional counterfactuals; necessity; sufficiency

Chapter.  12564 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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