Chapter

Efficacy, Causing, and Relevance

Helen Steward

in The Ontology of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250647
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681318 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250647.003.0007

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Efficacy, Causing, and Relevance

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In Chapter 5, it was argued that a proper appreciation of the important differences between singular and sentential explanations is essential if we are to understand properly the ontological and metaphysical implications of our causal talk. Towards the end of that chapter, a view called the Davidsonian view was outlined, which attempted to account for these differences by drawing on the distinction between two relations — the relation of causation and that of causal explanation. It was suggested that this answer seemed to leave unexplicated the connection between the relation of causal explanation — a relation whose holding, at least on one fairly plausible view, is dependent upon the tendency of human beings to find one fact, or set of facts, to be useful in achieving a certain kind of understanding of another — and ‘real metaphysical causality in the world’. This chapter, attempts to provide the outline of an account which might help us to understand this relation.

Keywords: causation; causal explanation; process explanation; program explanation

Chapter.  14732 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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