Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Causes: whether something is a physical cause of something depends on the separation of two objects or processes that are to be identified as cause and effect, as well as the transmission of energy. Whether this relationship comes about is therefore contingent. From a linguistic point of view, the relationship between cause and effect is a necessary relation since the concept of the cause is applied only to something which has an effect. See also de re, de dicto, necessity, contingency, causality, effect.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Leslie Mackie on Causes - Dictionary of Arguments

Bigelow I 268
Cause/Mackie/Bigelow/Pargetter: he comes to similar results as Lewis, but with strict conditionals.
C: is a conjunction of conditions
c: cause
e: effect.
I 268
Counterfactual Conditional/Lewis:
c would happen > e would happen
c would not happen > e would not happen
Mackie: strict conditionals:
N(C applies and c happens > e happens)
N(C applies and c does not happen > e does not happen).
Cause/INUS/Mackie: (Mackie 1965)(1) Thesis: not sufficient but necessary part of an unnecessary but sufficient condition.
Cause/Lewis/Mackie/Bigelow/Pargetter: both assume a chain of necessary conditions. They differ in how the links of the chain are to be connected.
Lewis: through counterfactual conditionals
Mackie: through strict conditionals. Their antecedents can be so complex that we cannot specify them in practice.
Backup System/Bigelow/Pargetter: (see above) would cause a counterfactual conditional to fail. Nevertheless, Lewis will treat the cause as the cause because it contributes to the chain.
Mackie: ditto, because the deviating cause is part of a sufficient condition.
BigelowVsLewis/BigelowVsMackie: both theories have disadvantages.

1. J. L. Mackie (1965). Causes and Conditions, American Philosophical Quarterly2, pp. 245-55, 261-64.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Macki I
J. L. Mackie
Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong 1977

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

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