The Logic of Causation

Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum

in Getting Causes from Powers

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695614
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731952 | DOI:
The Logic of Causation

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The theory offered suggests a univocal account of causation, but without offering any reductive analysis. The chapter can still say something informative about the features of causation, such as logical properties, and how these differ from non-causal but superficially similar claims. Employing Kant’s logical distinction between hypotheticals and categoricals, we see that causal claims relate differently to the matters of prevention, falsification, modality, induction, transitivity and context than do categorical claims. It is argued that while categorical claims are typically about the logical relationship between kinds, properties or classes, causal claims are about powers disposing or tending towards an effect. Issues that are usually considered problematic for causation, such as the possibility of prevention, transitivity failure, the problem of induction and context sensitivity, we take to be what mark out a claim as causal. Unless we find these features, we are not dealing with causation at all.

Keywords: logical properties; categorical; hypotheticals; prevention; falsification; induction; ceteris paribus clauses; transitivity; context sensitivity

Chapter.  7548 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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