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Cause and Chance : Causation in an Indeterministic World
Can one theory of causation cover all instances of cause and effect?
Causation is one of the oldest topics in philosophy, and has been a central problem for philosophers since David Hume. Most of the work done in this area has attempted to place cuasation in a deterministic, scientific worldview. But what about the unpredictable and chancy world we actually live in?
Cause and Chance: Causation in an Indeterministic World is a collection of specially written papers by world-class metaphysicians. Its focus is the problems facing the ''reductionist'' approach to causation: the attempt to vover all types of causation, deterministic and indeterministic, with one basic theory. Reductionism relies on the belief that the current work on deterministic causation can be extended to indeterministic causation, by analysing causation in terms of ''chance-raising''.
This collection focuses on the two most substantial challenges to a reductive analysis of causation thus far presented. On the one hand, several contributors argue that chance-raising theories do not work without a prior appeal to the notion of causal processes. Each contributor presents their own analysis of causal processes, attempting to capture what reductive theorists miss. On the other hand, several other contributors argue, the most significant way of characterising chance-raising is in terms of counterfactuals - but it can be argued that the proper sematics of counterfactuals must themselves be characterised in terms of causation, and so cannot be used to explain chance-raising.
In the process, a number of further difficulties for reductive analysis are raised and some contributors defend the chance-raising approach by analysing it in different ways.
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Taylor & Francis
December 08, 2003
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