Journal Article

Causation: An Alternative

Wolfgang Spohn

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 1, pages 93-119
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axi151
Causation: An Alternative

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The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals with cases of overdetermination and pre-emption. It finally indicates how the account's profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone.

Introduction

Variables, propositions, time

Induction first

Causation

Redundant causation

Objectivization

Journal Article.  12280 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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