Hidemi Suganami

in On the Causes of War

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198273387
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191684043 | DOI:

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This chapter discusses the outcomes of various historical investigations into the causes of particular wars. First, it analyses three common theories of the concept of causation. The first theory attaches central importance to ‘regularity’ in explicating ‘causality’, the second views the meaning of ‘causality’ in terms of the idea that, without ‘the cause’, ‘the effect’ would not have occurred, while the third argues that ‘explanation’ is integral to the concept of ‘causation’ and considers ‘a cause’ intrinsically as ‘an explanatory factor’. In his analysis of a causal explanation of singular events, Carl Hempel asserts that a singular causal remark ‘amounts to’ the assertion that, according to certain general laws, cause-type events are regularly accompanied by an effect-type event. This chapter also considers the idea of the regularity theory of the meaning of singular causal statements and rejects the covering-law theory of explanation. It concludes that causation, explanation, and narration are inextricably intertwined both in relation to events in nature and with reference to historical events in the social world.

Keywords: Carl Hempel; causes of war; cause; causation; regularity; laws; historical events; narration; effect; explanation

Chapter.  15670 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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