Causation and Reduction

Paul Humphreys

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191577246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Causation and Reduction

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  • Metaphysics
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When considering the relations between causation and reduction one must distinguish between, on the one hand, issues about how causation operates within and between systems that stand in various reductive relations to one another; and on the other hand, issues concerning whether causation itself is amenable to a reductive treatment. These two issues are intertwined and each must be treated with sympathy for the other. There are two basic types of reduction. Ontological reduction concerns reductive relations between the objects themselves whereas linguistic or conceptual reduction deals with reductive relations between our representations of those objects. For the great majority of the last century, both causation and reduction were treated linguistically or conceptually, but in recent years there has been a significant shift towards directly ontological treatments of each.

Keywords: causation; reduction; reductive treatment; ontological reduction; reductive relation; ontological treatments

Article.  6456 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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