Article

Causation

Jonathan L. Kvanvig and Trent Dougherty

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0017
Causation

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Causation is a notion that is put to work in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and even aesthetics. This bibliography addresses the main controversies surrounding this central notion itself, leaving to other entries in the relevant subfields the task of citing literature on causation relevant to the special concerns of these subdisciplines. The entry focuses on the nature of the causal relata, the objectivity of the relation, and its relation to the laws of nature, all of which have been subject to significant controversies. On the question of causal relata, the main controversy is whether it is events or facts that are related by causation, but there are alternative views as well. The ordinary assumption has been that causation is a real, objective feature of reality, but investigation of the ways in which the language of causation is context-sensitive raises questions about this assumption. In addition, a natural approach to causation is to identify it with the patterns of history that reflect the operation of laws of nature, but this regularity picture of causation has been challenged by defenders of singularity perspectives, according to which causation can occur without having any basis or connection with laws of nature. Both probabilistic and deterministic accounts will be treated, including the main alternatives in the latter camp.

Article.  4554 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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