Causal Pluralism

Peter Godfrey‐Smith

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Causal Pluralism

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Causal pluralism is the view that causation is not a single kind of relation or connection between things in the world. Instead, the apparently simple and univocal term ‘cause’ is seen as masking an underlying diversity. Assessing such a claim requires making sense of a difficult counting operation. How do we tell whether a theory of causation is identifying causation with a ‘single’ kind of connection? In practice, there tends not to be much disagreement about how to do the counting, because most philosophical work on causation has sought a view with an obvious kind of unity. The literature often works with a standard range of candidate connections that seem to have an important link to the idea of causation.

Keywords: causal pluralism; causation; theory of causation; idea of causation; candidate connections; counting operation

Article.  5413 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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